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

Just so, some of the more polemical books on impeachment published recently read as though Mr. Trump should be impeached for doing and saying indefensible things—that is, for being a bad president. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Politics: High Stakes and ‘High Crimes’," 1 Nov. 2018 Pollan’s most polemical book, despairs of American eating habits, yet concludes with the dainty recommendation to eat local as often as possible. Tom Bissell, New York Times, "Michael Pollan Drops Acid — and Comes Back From His Trip Convinced," 4 June 2018 Photo: Rhode Island School of Design, Providence Manet’s contemporary Frédéric Bazille addressed both sides of this polemical coin. Mary Tompkins Lewis, WSJ, "‘Posing Modernity: The Black Model From Manet and Matisse to Today’ Review: A Groundbreaking Look," 3 Dec. 2018 Strip away the polemical tone and the activist’s vision for Nestlé is actually similar to that of Mark Schneider, who became the company’s chief executive 18 months ago. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Nestlé Will Test Dan Loeb’s Appetite for Long-Term Investing," 2 July 2018 But understanding its polemical intent requires a little more digging. Ian Volner, Curbed, "Pakistan’s first-ever Venice Architecture Biennale pavilion is all about cities," 6 June 2018 As a historian, Professor Pipes defended his polemical approach. New York Times, "Richard Pipes, Historian of Russia and Reagan Aide, Dies at 94," 17 May 2018 The New Negro was a hero, a fetish, a polemical posture—and a blurry portrait of a flinching soul. Tobi Haslett, The New Yorker, "The Man Who Led the Harlem Renaissance—and His Hidden Hungers," 11 May 2018 The brisk and often funny novel is political without being polemical, educational without being didactic. Kevin Riordan, Philly.com, "A Camden kid lived the story, and a Philly author wrote the book," 7 May 2018

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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pole mast






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Time Traveler for polemical

The first known use of polemical was in 1615

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something valued as if it were money

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