polarization

noun
po·​lar·​i·​za·​tion | \ ˌpō-lə-rə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce polarization (audio) \
plural polarizations

Definition of polarization

1 : the action of polarizing or state of being or becoming polarized: such as
a(1) : the action or process of affecting radiation and especially light so that the vibrations of the wave assume a definite form
(2) : the state of radiation affected by this process
b : an increase in the resistance of an electrolytic cell often caused by the deposition of gas on one or both electrodes
2 : division into two sharply distinct opposites especially : a state in which the opinions, beliefs, or interests of a group or society no longer range along a continuum but become concentrated at opposing extremes political polarization … the relationship between partisan polarization and legislative gridlock is direct, with stalemate more frequent as the political center shrinks. — Sarah A. Binder The drift in our society now is not toward a grouping around the middle, but toward polarization. — Richard Todd … the venue where our most fractious … arguments over identity occur: the internet. These arguments do not play out on a democratized playing field where all identities are weighted equally; rather, they play out in a meticulously crafted environment where identities are microtargeted and polarization is amplified by algorithms. — Emma Levy

Examples of polarization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Legislation is also likely to take a considerable period of time, given the partisan polarization in Washington, even as stablecoins are growing rapidly. Christopher Rugaber, ajc, 1 Nov. 2021 By all means, Congress should set aside its debilitating polarization to reduce the massive backlog of repairs and improvements to transportation, water and electrical systems in this country. Star Tribune, 26 June 2021 Culver drew a distinction between a politician exaggerating the implications of their policies and someone damaging public health, sowing distrust and increasing polarization. Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2021 Some experts said that Facebook, in attempting to work on privacy while not fully addressing other harms, such as polarization, was stuck fighting yesterday's war. BostonGlobe.com, 5 Nov. 2021 Some experts said that Facebook, in attempting to work on privacy while not fully addressing other harms, such as polarization, was stuck fighting yesterday’s war. Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2021 Astronomers used a telescope facility called BICEP-3 (short for Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) to study the CMB and its polarization. Don Lincoln, CNN, 4 Nov. 2021 Deepening polarization has entrenched Democrats in some suburban jurisdictions, such as Virginia’s Fairfax County, which Mr. McAuliffe carried by 30 percentage points in his comeback bid. New York Times, 3 Nov. 2021 This system, political scientists say, allows more extreme political messaging, increases polarization, and sidesteps campaign finance laws. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polarization.' 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 polarization

1812, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for polarization

Time Traveler

The first known use of polarization was in 1812

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Dictionary Entries Near polarization

polarizable

polarization

polarization figure

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Statistics for polarization

Last Updated

21 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Polarization.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polarization. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for polarization

polarization

noun
po·​lar·​iza·​tion
variants: also British polarisation \ ˌpō-​lə-​rə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce polarization (audio) \

Medical Definition of polarization

: the action of polarizing or state of being or becoming polarized: as
a(1) : the action or process of affecting radiation and especially light so that the vibrations of the wave assume a definite form
(2) : the state of radiation affected by this process
b : an increase in the resistance of an electrolytic cell caused by the deposition of gas on one or both electrodes

More from Merriam-Webster on polarization

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for polarization

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polarization

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