- late 14c., bright star in the constellation Bootes (also used of the whole constellation), from Latin Arcturus, from Greek Arktouros; anciently associated with the Bear, and its name is Greek for "guardian of the bear." See arctic; second element is from ouros "watcher, guardian, ward," from PIE root *wer- (4) "perceive" (see ward (n.)).
Arcturus in the Bible (Job ix.9 and xxxviii.32) is a mistranslation by Jerome (continued in KJV) of Hebrew 'Ayish, which refers to what we see as the "bowl" of the Big Dipper. In Israel and Arabia, the seven stars of the Great Bear seem to have been a bier (the "bowl") followed by three mourners. In the Septuagint it was translated as Pleiada, which is equally incorrect. The double nature of the great bear/wagon (see Big Dipper) has given two different names to the constellation that follows it: Arktouros "bear-ward" and bootes "the wagoner."