po·​lem·​i·​cal | \ pə-ˈle-mi-kəl How to pronounce polemical (audio) \
variants: or less commonly polemic \ pə-​ˈle-​mik How to pronounce polemical (audio) \

Definition of polemical

1 : of, relating to, or being a polemic : controversial
2 : engaged in or addicted to polemics : disputatious

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Other Words from polemical

polemically \ pə-​ˈle-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce polemical (audio) \ adverb

Examples of polemical in a Sentence

during the Middle Ages even theologians could be surprisingly polemical in their writings an unnecessarily polemical look at the supposed incompatibility between science and religion
Recent Examples on the Web But a good deal of recent polemical art suggests a use-by date that is not far in the future. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "What Are Artists For?," 21 Dec. 2020 The initial performance unfolded as gently poetic rather than strongly polemical. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "‘Duets’ Review: Social Distancing in Tandem," 25 Jan. 2021 Germano and Nicholls’s gently polemical, deeply romantic book regards the syllabus, and the work that goes into constructing one, as an opportunity to ponder the possibilities and pathways of the classroom. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "A Celebration of the Syllabus," 22 Oct. 2020 Large portions of his narrative feel polemical and clumsily politicized. Matthew Adams, Star Tribune, "REVIEW: 'Missionaries,' by Phil Klay," 9 Oct. 2020 Mailer, whether in his fiction, polemical essays or reportage, always aimed to be consequential, to be fiercely engaged with his times. Washington Post, "Can’t get enough Game of Thrones or Star Wars? New editions on cult favorites are here to satisfy.," 6 Oct. 2020 Gerima, a cinematic provocateur and Burnett’s classmate, crafted polemical films like Bush Mama (1979), which assails police brutality, prisons, and the welfare system. Artel Great, The New Republic, "Black Cinema Matters," 11 Sep. 2020 What keeps the movie from straying into sentimentality is its closeness to the truth, which ends up pitching Never Rarely Sometimes Always almost closer to the genre of polemical documentary than fiction. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Planned Parenthood Is the Real Star of Never Rarely Sometimes Always," 8 Apr. 2020 Her more polemical books extol danger, charisma, virility and bravado while ridiculing safety, tenderness, solidarity and weakness. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "Katie Roiphe Feels Ambivalent About Feeling Ambivalent," 26 Feb. 2020

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

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of polemical was in 1615

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Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Polemical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polemical. Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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