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[bahy-poh-ler] /baɪˈpoʊ lər/
having two poles, as the earth.
of, relating to, or found at both polar regions.
characterized by opposite extremes, as two conflicting political philosophies.
Electronics. of or relating to a transistor that uses both positive and negative charge carriers.
1800-10; bi-1 + polar
Related forms
bipolarity, noun
bipolarization, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bipolar
  • She has written for newspapers and magazines about her bipolar illness, .
  • He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
  • Omar's bipolar disorder makes him see life as a cruel slog, with nothing but death to look forward to.
  • Lithium is given to people with severe bipolar disorder.
  • Everything in nature is bipolar, or has a positive and negative pole.
  • The cochlear nerve or root, the nerve of hearing, arises from bipolar cells in the spiral ganglion.
  • When Camille was 6, a child psychiatrist diagnosed her with bipolar disorder.
  • Soon after her marriage in 1913, her bipolar husband had a mental breakdown.
  • She spent a decade there, working with students who were autistic, bipolar and borderline schizophrenic.
  • Aggressive drug treatment for young children labeled bipolar has become common across the country.
British Dictionary definitions for bipolar


having two poles: a bipolar dynamo, a bipolar neuron
relating to or found at the North and South Poles
having or characterized by two opposed opinions, natures, etc
(of a transistor) utilizing both majority and minority charge carriers
suffering from bipolar manic-depressive disorder
Derived Forms
bipolarity, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bipolar

"having two poles," from bi- + polar; 1810 with figurative sense of "of double aspect;" 1859 with reference to physiology. Psychiatric use in reference to what had been called manic-depressive psychosis is said to have begun 1957 with German psychiatrist Karl Leonhard. The term became popular early 1990s. Bipolar disorder was in DSM III (1980).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bipolar in Medicine

bipolar bi·po·lar (bī-pō'lər)

  1. Having two poles; used especially of nerve cells in which the branches project from two usually opposite points.

  2. Of or relating to both ends or poles of a bacterial or other cell.

  3. Of or relating to a major affective disorder that is characterized by episodes of mania and depression.

bi'po·lar'i·ty (-lār'ĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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bipolar in Science
  1. Relating to or having two poles or charges.

  2. Relating to a semiconductor device, such as a transistor, that exploits the electrical characteristics of contact between two substances, one with an inherent positive charge, the other with an inherent negative charge.

  3. Relating to or involving both of the Earth's polar regions.

  4. Relating to a neuron that has two processes or extremities.

  5. Relating to bipolar disorder.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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bipolar in Technology

1. See bipolar transistor.
2. In digital transmission, an electrical line signalling method where the mark value alternates between positive and negative polarities.
See also AMI.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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