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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for polar

Synonyms: Adjective

antipodal, antipodean, antithetical, contradictory, contrary, diametric (or diametrical), opposite

Antonyms: Adjective


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of polar in a Sentence


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

The Pacers were swept in four games by the Boston Celtics, who were their polar opposite because of their interchangeable pieces. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Pacers playing faster, better in half court is more important than big or small lineups," 24 June 2019 What happens when people who are complete polar opposites meet? Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "15+ Young Adult Audiobooks For When You Want To Give Music a Break," 18 June 2019 When the jet stream dips south, polar air fills in the trough, bringing heavy rains and cooler-than-usual temperatures, as has happened across much of the United States with a record-late arrival of spring and above-average precipitation. Denise Chow, NBC News, "A strange, wavy jet stream is blasting Europe with heat. Scientists say this could be the 'new normal.'," 29 June 2019 Would last winter’s polar vortex deliver a knock-out punch? Lee Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Despite last winter's polar vortex, emerald ash borer continues to march across Wisconsin," 18 June 2019 Some of the region’s apricot, plum and apple crops may also be affected after the blast of polar air plummeted temperatures to minus 20 degrees in late January, breaking water pipes and ice-jamming bridges in areas around the state. USA TODAY, "Black Hills yaks, serious senioritis on campus, Pony Express: News from around our 50 states," 10 June 2019 After dazzling at the Met Gala earlier this month, the diva headed back to Los Angeles and into a polar vortex. Vogue, "Forget Summer! Winter is Coming for Lady Gaga," 23 May 2019 This week's warmup will be interrupted by two influxes of polar air. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Warming trend to resume after late-week chill," 24 Apr. 2018 This mixing of cold polar air with warm tropical air carried north by the Gulf Stream is what triggers the severe nor’easter storms. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "What Is Going on With the Northeast's Weather?," 20 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At 30 years of age, Aubameyang is the polar opposite of the type of player United are targeting this summer after so far landing 21-year-old par Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, an with plans to move onto Newcastle's Sean Longstaff. SI.com, "Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 'Says Yes' to Man Utd as Bizarre Transfer Rumour Gathers Pace," 28 June 2019 The current point of view can be seen as the polar opposite of Einstein’s dream of a unique cosmos. Quanta Magazine, "There Are No Laws of Physics. There’s Only the Landscape.," 4 June 2018 For some species, like the polar-dwelling reindeer, those sparks have already begun to fly. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Wildebeest! Okapi! Giraffe! Ibex! Come Peruse Their Genomes," 20 June 2019 This isn't the first time this year that a Russian city has dealt with an unexpected polar-bear issue. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Starving polar bear found in Russian city after traveling hundreds of miles," 25 Mar. 2019 The video shows the duck swimming and a polar approaching it from underwater. Adrian Vore, San Diego Union-Tribune, "What ‘news’ is fit to cover, publish?," 14 June 2019 Has a boom in polar fracking tipped the Earth off its axis? Ann Hornaday, chicagotribune.com, "'The Dead Don't Die' review: Jim Jarmusch's zombie tale lumbers along," 13 June 2019 Instead, researchers found that the majority of polar bears’ diet is made up of critters that ultimately depend on sea-ice algae as a food source. National Geographic, "The surprising reason polar bears need sea ice to survive," 1 Apr. 2019 Which is the polar opposite to the real-life friendship Efron and Collins have with each other. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Lily Collins and Zac Efron Took a Friendship Test, and I'm Emotional," 9 May 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about polar

Statistics for polar

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for polar

The first known use of polar was in 1556

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on polar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with polar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for polar

Spanish Central: Translation of polar

Nglish: Translation of polar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of polar for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polar

Comments on polar

What made you want to look up polar? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!