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verb po·lar·ize \ˈpō-lə-ˌrīz\

Simple Definition of polarize

  • : to cause (people, opinions, etc.) to separate into opposing groups

  • physics : to cause (something, such as light waves) to vibrate in a particular pattern

  • physics : to cause (something) to have positive and negative charges : to give polarity to (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of polarize


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to cause (as light waves) to vibrate in a definite pattern

  3. 2 :  to give physical polarity to

  4. 3 :  to break up into opposing factions or groupings <a campaign that polarized the electorate>

  5. 4 :  concentrate 1 <recreate a cohesive rock community by polarizing … an amorphous, fragmented audience — Ellen Willis>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to become polarized

polarizability play \ˌpō-lə-ˌrī-zə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
polarizable play \ˌpō-lə-ˈrī-zə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of polarize in a sentence

  1. The war has polarized the nation.

  2. The current debate polarizes along lines of class and race.

Origin of polarize

French polariser, from New Latin polaris polar

First Known Use: 1811

Rhymes with polarize

advertise, agonize, alchemize, analyze, anglicize, anodize, anywise, aphorize, arborize, atomize, authorize, autolyze, balkanize, barbarize, bastardize, bestialize, bolshevize, booby prize, botanize, bowdlerize, brutalize, canalize, canonize, capsulize, caramelize, carbonize, cartelize, catalyze, catechize, cauterize, centralize, channelize, Christianize, cicatrize, circumcise, civilize, classicize, colonize, colorize, communize, compromise, concertize, concretize, creolize, criticize, customize, demonize, deputize, dialyze, digitize, disfranchise, dogmatize, dramatize, elegize, empathize, emphasize, energize, enfranchise, enterprise, equalize, erotize, eternize, etherize, eulogize, euphemize, exercise, exorcise, factorize, fantasize, federalize, feminize, fertilize, feudalize, fictionize, finalize, focalize, formalize, formulize, fossilize, fragmentize, fraternize, gallicize, galvanize, germanize, ghettoize, glamorize, globalize, gormandize, gothicize, gourmandize, grecianize, harmonize, heathenize, hebraize, hellenize, heroize, hierarchize, humanize, hybridize, hypnotize, idolize, immunize, iodize, ionize, ironize, Islamize, itemize, jeopardize, journalize, Judaize, laicize, latinize, legalize, lionize, liquidize, localize, magnetize, marbleize, martyrize, maximize, mechanize, melanize, melodize, memorize, merchandise, mesmerize, methodize, metricize, minimize, mobilize, modernize, moisturize, mongrelize, moralize, motorize, mythicize, narcotize, nasalize, nebulize, neutralize, normalize, notarize, novelize, obelize, odorize, optimize, organize, ostracize, otherwise, oversize, oxidize, paganize, palletize, paradise, paralyze, pasteurize, patronize, pauperize, penalize, penny-wise, personalize, pidginize, plasticize, Platonize, pluralize, pocket-size, poetize, polemize, pressurize, privatize, profitwise, prussianize, publicize, pulverize, racialize, randomize, rationalize, realize, recognize, rhapsodize, robotize, romanize, sanitize, satirize, scandalize, schematize, schismatize, scrutinize, sensitize, sermonize, signalize, simonize, sinicize, slenderize, sloganize, socialize, sodomize, solarize, solemnize, specialize, stabilize, Stalinize, standardize, sterilize, stigmatize, strategize, subsidize, summarize, supervise, syllogize, symbolize, sympathize, synchronize, syncretize, synopsize, synthesize, systemize, tantalize, televise, temporize, tenderize, terrorize, tetanize, teutonize, texturize, theorize, thermalize, totalize, tranquilize, traumatize, tyrannize, unionize, unitize, urbanize, utilize, valorize, vandalize, vaporize, verbalize, vernalize, victimize, vitalize, vocalize, vulcanize, vulgarize, weather-wise, weatherize, westernize, winterize, womanize, worldly-wise

Medical Dictionary


verb po·lar·ize

Medical Definition of polarize

polarized also British polarised; polarizing also British polarising

  1. 1

  2. transitive verb

  3. :  to cause (as light waves) to vibrate in a definite pattern

  4. 2:  to give physical polarity to

  5. intransitive verb

  6. :  to become polarized

Variants of polarize

also British polarise \ˈpō-lə-ˌrīz\play

Seen and Heard

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expressing little or no emotion

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