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

Lingering rancor and polemical arguments over the Vietnam War continued to undercut American statecraft for years after that conflict ended. Hal Brands, National Review, "Lessons from the Iraq War," 20 June 2019 In other cases, theatergoers with an aversion to Ibsen — this pioneer of lyrical, dramatic naturalism strikes some as a bit dry and polemical — may make the decision not to attend on the basis of the title alone. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "Nora’s back in ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2.’ Lucky for us, she’s played by Holly Twyford.," 14 June 2019 But even in these books, handpicked by Dworkin for polemical purposes, there seems more going on than her narrow reading allows. Elaine Blair, The New York Review of Books, "Fighting for Her Life," 17 June 2019 The new document talks about gender and transgender people in a less polemical way than the church has done previously. Eloise Blondiau, Vox, "5 trans Catholics on the Vatican’s rejection of their gender identity," 12 June 2019 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

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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Dictionary Entries near polemical


pole mast






Statistics for polemical

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for polemical

The first known use of polemical was in 1615

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More from Merriam-Webster on polemical

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Spanish Central: Translation of polemical

Nglish: Translation of polemical for Spanish Speakers

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to complain fretfully

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