po·​lar·​iz·​ing ˈpō-lə-ˌrī-ziŋ How to pronounce polarizing (audio)
: causing polarization: such as
: causing electromagnetic radiation and especially light waves to vibrate in a definite pattern
a camera lens equipped with a polarizing filter [= a filter that controls the passage of polarized light in order to reduce reflections, glare, etc.]
sunglasses with polarizing lenses
: causing a physical object (such as a particle or crystal) to enter a state of polarization
… applying a polarizing electric field to ferroelectric crystals …David Ritchie
: causing strong disagreement between opposing factions or groupings
a polarizing political issue
As polarizing a figure as there is in the league, he is deified in L.A. and often detested elsewhere, yet not even his detractors can deny his talent or accomplishments.Chris Ballard
Our media's attention often spins around unnuanced, polarizing opinions and hasty, inflammatory statements.Heather Lanier

Examples of polarizing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Behold the gloriously multifaceted—and highly polarizing—cape, a cornerstone prop in portrayals of monarchy, religion, even war, a garment that ebbs into and flows out of fashion more often than any other. Isiah Magsino, Town & Country, 2 Sep. 2023 Meanwhile, the coming year, complete with what will likely be the most polarizing presidential election in history, isn’t giving anyone hope that country music’s culture war will abate. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 1 Sep. 2023 That can be especially true amid the partisanship of the current political climate, the most polarizing period of American history since the Civil War. USA TODAY, 20 Aug. 2023 The bill had bipartisan support, but it’s long been one of the most polarizing issues in Oregon. oregonlive, 4 Aug. 2023 And accomplishing both these tasks requires simultaneously appealing to pro-Trump and anti-Trump GOP voters amid very polarizing developments over the ex-president’s indictments and trials. Craig Gilbert, Journal Sentinel, 14 Aug. 2023 Emily Blunt’s martini-mad Kitty Oppenheimer is a more polarizing performance, but Supporting Actress always has room for a historical wife. Vulture, 28 July 2023 After his release, Mr. Mitnick became a polarizing but regular presence in the cybersecurity community. Kelly Kasulis Cho, Washington Post, 20 July 2023 In recent tumultuous and polarizing years, Jordan has become more public with his philanthropy and occasional calls for racial justice. Harvey Araton, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'polarizing.' 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

1803, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of polarizing was in 1803

Dictionary Entries Near polarizing

Cite this Entry

“Polarizing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polarizing. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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