po·​lar | \ ˈpō-lər How to pronounce polar (audio) \

Definition of polar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to a geographic pole or the region around it
b : coming from or having the characteristics of such a region
c(1) : passing over a celestial body's north and south poles a satellite in a polar orbit
(2) : traveling in a polar orbit a polar satellite
2 : of or relating to one or more poles (as of a magnet)
3 : serving as a guide a polar principle a polar theory
4 : diametrically opposite polar positions on the issue
5 : exhibiting polarity especially : having a dipole or characterized by molecules having dipoles a polar solvent
6 : resembling a pole or axis around which all else revolves : pivotal polar events
7 : of, relating to, or expressed in polar coordinates polar equations also : of or relating to a polar coordinate system



Definition of polar (Entry 2 of 2)

: a straight line related to a point specifically : the straight line joining the points of contact of the tangents from a point exterior to a conic section

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Synonyms & Antonyms for polar

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of polar in a Sentence

Adjective They took polar positions on the issue. She and I are good friends even though we're polar opposites.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In captivity, polar bears are frequently treated as a kind of ambassador for a vulnerable environment. Katherine Cusumano, Outside Online, "How Polar Bears Became Avatars for the Climate Crisis," 28 Mar. 2021 In recent decades, the village of about 200 people has seen rising numbers of polar bears, many drawn to the area by an Arctic Ocean beach where whaling crews discard bowhead whale carcasses. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Last-minute Trump administration order targets Alaska polar bear guides," 24 Mar. 2021 But the hotel’s main selling point is 24/7 access to polar bears. Washington Post, "China’s newest attraction, a hotel with live polar bears, is already fully booked," 18 Mar. 2021 Animal welfare activists are criticizing the hotel, claiming polar bears belong in the Arctic and not in hotels, zoos or glass boxes in aquariums. Coral Murphy Marcos, USA TODAY, "'Polar bear hotel' in China receives criticism for animal cruelty from activists, reports say," 16 Mar. 2021 Photos and videos from Chinese state media showed people watching two polar bears in an indoor enclosure featuring artificial ice and small pools of water. NBC News, "Hotel with polar bear enclosure opens in China, criticized by animal rights groups," 13 Mar. 2021 These western states can have incredible temperature swings this month as the polar jet stream moves from it's preferred position near Canada over the winter to a more southerly route during the spring. Tom Sater, CNN, "Here is why March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb (usually)," 2 Mar. 2021 If that warm air (heading northeast)collideswith the polar jet stream (also heading east), the temperature difference between them creates a low pressure system; in short, precipitation starts to form. Todd Nelson, Star Tribune, "Coldest Air in Nearly 2 Years Arrives This Weekend," 2 Feb. 2021 The immediate cause was the polar jet stream, a world-girdling high-altitude wind driven by temperature differences between Arctic air to the north and warmer air to the south. The Economist, "Weather and climate change How weird weather can span the world," 12 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But her relentlessly pragmatic approach to politics is the polar opposite of, say, the Bernie Sanders approach. Michelle Goldberg, New York Times, "Nancy Pelosi’s Brilliant Career," 5 May 2020 The rainforest environment is all the more remarkable, the researchers said, considering that the region annually experiences a four-month polar night when there is no sunlight to nurture plant life. NBC News, "Evidence of 90-million-year-old rainforest uncovered beneath Antarctic ice," 2 Apr. 2020 Even millions of years ago, the South Pole endured what's known as a four-month polar night when no sunlight can be seen. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Evidence of ancient rainforests found in Antarctica," 1 Apr. 2020 Herschel Island is home to moose, musk oxen and caribou; the site is one of the few places where black, polar and grizzly bears share the same habitat, per Smithsonian magazine. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Explore 3-D Models of Historic Yukon Structures Threatened by Erosion," 25 Mar. 2020 At-home polar plunges do come at a far cheaper cost, though; depending on the area, entering a cryotherapy chamber could cost you about $75 a pop. Claire Maldarelli, Popular Science, "What actually works for muscle recovery—and what doesn’t," 17 Jan. 2019 His polar opposite, meanwhile, was the pair of bluestockings to his left. Nicholas M. Gallagher, National Review, "Figaro in Kentucky," 21 Mar. 2020 Sir Keir is the polar opposite of the charismatic populists who bestride much of the world. The Economist, "Bagehot Keir Starmer, a serious Labour man," 29 Feb. 2020 But then there's Lauren Zima, who posted what sounded like a polar opposite spoiler. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Two Potentially Major Bachelor Spoilers Were Posted & Deleted Last Night," 25 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polar.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of polar


1556, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1848, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for polar


New Latin polaris, from Latin polus pole

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Statistics for polar

Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Polar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polar. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for polar



English Language Learners Definition of polar

: of or relating to the North or South Pole or the region around it
: completely different or opposite
technical : relating to one or both of the poles of a magnet


po·​lar | \ ˈpō-lər How to pronounce polar (audio) \

Kids Definition of polar

1 : of or relating to the north pole or south pole or nearby regions polar ice caps
2 : coming from or being like a polar region polar cold
3 : of or relating to a pole of a magnet


po·​lar | \ ˈpō-lər How to pronounce polar (audio) \

Medical Definition of polar

1 : of or relating to one or more poles (as of a spherical body)
2 : exhibiting polarity especially : having a dipole or characterized by molecules having dipoles a polar solvent
3 : being at opposite ends of a spectrum of symptoms or manifestations polar types of leprosy

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