polarization

noun

po·​lar·​i·​za·​tion ˌpō-lə-rə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce polarization (audio)
plural polarizations
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 Presidential approval ratings are also now dragged down by political and ideological polarization, with a shrinking share of the opposing party that any candidate can win over. G. Elliott Morris, ABC News, 11 June 2024 Americans’ political polarization impaired our leaders’ ability to weigh such risks and benefits. F.d. Flam, Twin Cities, 7 June 2024 That polarization is creating a self-perpetuating cycle One major factor complicating our national immigration debate is that for all the talk on the issue, the country has done very little to legislate on it. Matt Collette, Vox, 6 June 2024 The other polarization pattern possesses a characteristic found in magnetic fields. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, 3 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for polarization 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'polarization.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1812, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of polarization was in 1812

Dictionary Entries Near polarization

Cite this Entry

“Polarization.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polarization. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition

polarization

noun
po·​lar·​iza·​tion
variants also British polarisation
: 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

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