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

Power Moves: As this Waxing Moon presents you with your polar sign, Capricorn, there’s a delightful duet sensation available to you right now, Little Mermaid. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes October 15-21," 13 Oct. 2018 Seas could rise as much as 10 feet by 2100 if the polar ice sheets melt significantly. Phil Diehl, latimes.com, "Del Mar considers unpopular 'planned retreat' strategy due to rising sea level," 20 May 2018 One key function of the GRACE satellites is tracking the mass of the polar ice sheets. Scott Waldman, Scientific American, "Key Climate Satellite to Launch Later This Month," 1 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

20 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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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

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to enclose within walls

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