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

Think of at is a fashionable, exercise-free version of the polar swim. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "The $225 Outdoor Shower Designers Are Obsessed With," 26 Apr. 2019 And as a bonus, this safer, energy-friendly distance still provides access to practically all regions on the moon, including polar areas. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "NASA: Lunar 'Gateway' Is Still Our Best Bet for Putting Boots on the Moon," 1 Apr. 2019 The geothermal waves set off by the Sun's storm will give the Northern US a rare chance to see the stunning light show usually reserved for our polar neighbors. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "You Can See The Northern Lights Across The US This Weekend," 22 Mar. 2019 And the listings came amid market conditions that were almost polar opposites. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Levi CFO Returns to NYSE to Float Another Family-Owned American Icon," 21 Mar. 2019 One of those polar vortex pieces is responsible for the sub-zero temperatures across the Midwest this week. Ivan Moreno, The Seattle Times, "Heavy snow hitting parts of Midwest; dangerous cold coming," 28 Jan. 2019 Having a freezer filled with logs of cookie dough will give you a calm, perhaps even smug feeling that’s the polar opposite of holiday hysteria. Adina Steiman, WSJ, "This Holiday Season’s Smartest Cookie," 5 Dec. 2018 As polar ice caps disappear, the rate at which the entire planet warms increases. Hans Aschim, Harper's BAZAAR, "Three Women in Science Who Broke the Glass Ceiling," 5 Oct. 2018 Radars have detected what scientists speculate is a lake of liquid water beneath Mars’s southern polar ice cap. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Life, er, lake on Mars," 26 July 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

8 May 2019

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Time Traveler for polar

The first known use of polar was in 1556

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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

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something valued as if it were money

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