Definition of polarize
1 : to cause to vibrate in a definite pattern polarize light waves
2 : to give physical polarity to
3 : to break up into opposing factions or groupings a campaign that polarized the electorate
4 : concentrate 1 recreate a cohesive rock community by polarizing … an amorphous, fragmented audience — Ellen Willis
: to become polarized
polarizabilityplay \ˌpō-lə-ˌrī-zə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
polarizableplay \ˌpō-lə-ˈrī-zə-bəl\ adjective
Examples of polarize in a Sentence
The war has polarized the nation.
The current debate polarizes along lines of class and race.
Recent Examples of polarize from the Web
Polarized emotions around wolves further complicate things.
Equal prize money and mixed events continue to polarize—and disrupt tour boards—but tennis is a stronger product when both men and women are together.
The marketing move, which arrived during a rather heated U.S. presidential election, was polarizing for some.
The issue of American-Indian mascots and logos has been a controversial and polarizing one across Michigan.
The show examines what individuals did to survive polarized, political turmoil, which feels particularly relevant right now, Ewing said.
The problem in Turkey—and elsewhere in the Middle East—is that as politicians purposefully polarize their own societies for political profit, there is a dearth of democratic institutions through which people can process their grievances.
Ryan’s smallest victory margin in two decades came in 2012 when his vice presidential candidacy helped polarize his image and cost him crossover support from Democrats and independents.
There aren’t many tools that can hack through the political and financial red tape required, and that thicket has become even denser in today’s increasingly partisan and polarized political climate.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polarize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of polarize
French polariser, from New Latin polaris polar
First Known Use: 1811See Words from the same year
POLARIZE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of polarize for English Language Learners
: to cause (people, opinions, etc.) to separate into opposing groups
physics : to cause (something, such as light waves) to vibrate in a particular pattern
physics : to cause (something) to have positive and negative charges : to give polarity to (something)
Medical Definition of polarize
Seen and Heard
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