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

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

Antonyms: Adjective


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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

While the presence of water on the Moon is nothing new, (it was first discovered on the Moon in 2009 by three spacecraft, according to Space.com), the presence of ice on the polar regions could make lunar colonies a possibility. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Stunning Moon discovery: Frozen surface water found on the Moon's polar regions, could aid space exploration," 21 Aug. 2018 Advancements in Earth-observing satellites have enabled researchers to better understand the polar regions. Kendra Pierre-louis, New York Times, "Antarctica Is Melting Three Times as Fast as a Decade Ago," 13 June 2018 The Pentagon is expected to roll out a new Indo-Pacific strategy over the next two months, a blueprint for retaining military power over a vast stretch of water from the Indian Ocean to the polar regions and America’s west coast. Carl Prine, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Defense secretary touches down in Singapore for key talks," 31 May 2018 In June, the typical winter cloak of clouds over the polar region should dissipate, leaving the south cap shining brilliantly and undergoing spectacular changes during its rapid springtime thaw. Joe Rao, Space.com, "Mars Makes Its Closest Approach in 15 Years This Summer: How to See It," 29 May 2018 Cheers went up at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge as the Phoenix Mars Lander touched down — according to plan — in a northern polar region of the red planet on May 25, 2008. Carol Cormaci, latimes.com, "La Cañada History: Cheers heard, relief felt inside JPL as the Phoenix Mars Lander makes successful descent onto the red planet," 21 May 2018 Between the polar vortex and the post-holiday slump, the first 31 days of 2019 weren't easy. Megan Stein, Country Living, "These Winter Bucket List Ideas Will Make February Your Favorite Month," 13 Feb. 2019 All over the south polar region, Zhou said, similar construction was happening. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Read an excerpt from Kim Stanley Robinson’s next book," 18 Oct. 2018 The polar regions are normally covered by snow and ice, which help to keep our planet relatively cool. Hans Aschim, Harper's BAZAAR, "Three Women in Science Who Broke the Glass Ceiling," 5 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Last Saturday evening, while another deep polar freeze descended on the midwest forcing icy streets into abandonment, the Palladium in Lafayette Square in St. Louis was alive with art and irreverence. Vogue, "The St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum Hosts its Biennial Dada Ball & Bash," 8 Mar. 2019 The polar vortices found in the troposphere are generally much larger than the ones in the stratosphere and are usually the ones that effect weather down on the ground, chilling our bones here on the planet's surface. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "What Is a Polar Vortex? The Frigid Weather Pattern Explained," 16 Jan. 2019 From the groler bear (grizzly + polar) to the dzo (yak + cow), here are 10 hybrid species that are relatively new to the animal kingdom. Olivia Putnal, Woman's Day, "10 Unusual Animal Hybrids," 21 Sep. 2010 With a tidy bob and easy smile, Okju is his polar counterpart. Daniel Otis, Sunset, "Awe-Inspiring Canadian Rockies Camping Adventure," 22 Jan. 2018 Instead, the spacecraft revealed giant mountains, vast canyons, a red polar cap, landslides and surface-color variations. Nola Taylor Redd, Space.com, "Celebrating 40 Years of Pluto's Largest Moon, Charon," 14 July 2018 Sneeze meter If Hitman is one kind of stealth-assassination game,Skin Deep sure is the polar opposite. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Blizzard dispels Diablo 4 rumors, and Hitman 2 adds Sean Bean to the cast," 19 Oct. 2018 But features like Ahuna Mons aren't expected to last very long on Ceres, as their ice will gradually flow down to the level of the terrain around them, and Tricarico thinks the true polar wander happened early in Ceres' history. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Ceres might have tilted over onto its side," 9 Oct. 2018 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

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

13 Mar 2019

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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
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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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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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