po·lar | \ˈpō-lər \

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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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

Such ponds are well known in polar environments today to host thriving ecosystems of algae and cyanobacteria (although Benn notes scientists have no direct geologic evidence of these ponds at the time of snowball Earth). Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Like Ancient Snowball Earth, Frozen Planets May Still Be Habitable," 13 Mar. 2018 The paper stresses that China will play by international rules and co-operate with the Arctic Council (its members include polar great-powers to reckon with: America and Russia). The Economist, "China wants to be a polar power," 12 Apr. 2018 The world of gigantic cargo ships and goods that are transported and sold globally is of course the polar opposite of Thoreau’s vision of intimate tranquility, making the title at once melancholy and ironic. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Walden': Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2018," 12 July 2018 In many ways, Macron and Trump were polar opposites in style and policy, pitting a young global-minded intellectual against an aging nationalist. Time, "The Trump-Macron Friendship Is Falling Apart at the G-7. That Spells Trouble for the French President," 8 June 2018 As a polar explorer, he's been on a mission for decades to help preserve Antarctica's pristine environment. CBS News, "Father-and-son pair trek Antarctica to highlight climate change," 22 Mar. 2018 But the duke, a tough, talented mountain climber as well as a polar explorer, understood that the harrowing K2 was worthy of his attention. Howard Schneider, WSJ, "‘To the Edges of the Earth’ Review: Going to Extremes," 15 Mar. 2018 The planet will be tilted at a 26-degree angle allowing telescope viewers a nice image of its rings and north polar region. Richard Tribou, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Bright asteroid can be seen with the naked eye in June," 1 June 2018 The discoveries, made with the help of ice-penetrating radar during an aerial survey of the polar region, came as a surprise to the scientists. David Freeman /, NBC News, "Vast hidden canyons and mountain ranges discovered in Antarctica," 26 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The ethos Andersson has instilled without him is the polar opposite. Rory Smith, New York Times, "By His Absence, Zlatan Ibrahimovic Makes Sweden Stronger at the World Cup," 3 July 2018 This drives home the underlying claim of the book: egotism was the ultimate reason for polar exploration. Anchorage Daily News, "In ‘To the Ends of the Earth,’ an ambitious attempt to encompass era of polar exploration," 7 July 2018 Thoughts on ‘Thought’ Streams of Thought is the polar opposite of ye. Dan Deluca, Philly.com, "Is Black Thought better than Kanye West?," 4 June 2018 This is the polar opposite of the see-them-all island junkets most Americans take. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "8 European Beach Vacations That’ll Make Your Instagram Friends Jealous," 28 June 2018 Alex’s twin brother, Jamie, is his polar opposite, as deliberate as his sibling is hurried, intent on making things perfect before departing for anywhere. Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "On Marathon day, this family of autistic twin runners deserves cheers," 16 Apr. 2018 The polar caps appear to be mostly nitrogen ices. with more methane concentrated in the southern hemisphere. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Here's What We Know About Pluto So Far," 17 July 2015 In addition to having this very simple structure, water molecules are polar, which means there is an uneven distribution of charge across the water molecule. Megan Arnett, Scientific American, "Mix It Up with Oil and Water," 24 May 2018 But now that the dreaded polar vortex has gripped NYC, my beautiful pout is chapped and in serious need of hydration. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "I Tried A Jelly Lip Mask and It Changed My Life," 3 Nov. 2017

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

25 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for polar

The first known use of polar was in 1556

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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

: relating to one or both of the poles of a magnet


po·lar | \ˈpō-lər \

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 \

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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