polarization

noun
po·​lar·​i·​za·​tion | \ ˌpō-lə-rə-ˈzā-shən \

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
2a : division into two opposites
b : concentration about opposing extremes of groups or interests formerly ranged on a continuum

Examples of polarization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Every time, hundreds of thousands of federal workers have to halt their work in a tradition that has become a metaphor abroad for U.S. polarization and government dysfunction. Rick Noack, The Seattle Times, "Australia tried its own government shutdown in 1975. The queen was not amused and it never happened again.," 2 Jan. 2019 William Coupon The partisan polarization of the confirmation process is often seen as reaching a new stage in 1987. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "5 Reasons Why Supreme Court Nominations Have Failed," 10 July 2018 In no small part because of Mr. Trump, and his ongoing conflict with California, this contest is playing out in an atmosphere of partisan polarization, which encourages the candidates to appeal to their base. New York Times, "In Fight for California Governor, Candidates Head to Ideological Corners," 6 June 2018 The splitting process pairs up the photon's polarizations (the technical term is entangled). Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Conservation of energy used to parallelize quantum key distribution," 17 Dec. 2018 There’s a simple story for how the media is driving political polarization. Ezra Klein, Vox, "When Twitter users hear out the other side, they become more polarized," 18 Oct. 2018 Social media’s tendency toward ideological and partisan clustering creates information bubbles, which can be empowering in the short term but drive polarization later. Marc Lynch, Washington Post, "What are the lessons of the Arab uprisings for Iran’s protests?," 2 Jan. 2018 The polarization of politics over the past two decades stems directly from this increasingly hermetic view of the world. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "Is This the End of Civility As We Know It?," 29 June 2016 The wounding of a leading Brazilian presidential candidate has the potential to reshape the election contest after dramatically exposing the deep polarization in Latin America's largest nation. Fox News, "Stabbing of a leading Brazilian candidate could reshape race," 7 Sep. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of polarization

1812, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about polarization

Share polarization

Statistics for polarization

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for polarization

The first known use of polarization was in 1812

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for polarization

polarization

noun
po·​lar·​iza·​tion
variants: also British polarisation \ ˌpō-​lə-​rə-​ˈzā-​shən \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with polarization

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polarization

Comments on polarization

What made you want to look up polarization? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!