po·​lem·​i·​cal | \ pə-ˈle-mi-kəl \
variants: or less commonly polemic \ pə-​ˈle-​mik \

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 \ 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

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 Hazanavicius begins his film as Godard’s playful, polemical pastiche of dialectical discussion and mock agit-prop theatrics opens with a thud at the Avignon Film Festival. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "Godardian pretensions in ‘Godard Mon Amour’," 25 Apr. 2018 Still, the book offers a useful polemical corrective to the dominant model of neurostorytelling. Steven Poole, WSJ, "‘The Biological Mind’ Review: Identify Your Self," 5 Apr. 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

10 Dec 2018

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for polemical

Spanish Central: Translation of polemical

Nglish: Translation of polemical for Spanish Speakers

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