having two poles, as the earth.
of, pertaining to, or found at both polar regions.
characterized by opposite extremes, as two conflicting political philosophies.
Electronics. of or pertaining to a transistor that uses both positive and negative charge carriers.

1800–10; bi-1 + polar

bipolarity, noun
bipolarization, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bipolar (baɪˈpəʊlə)
1.  having two poles: a bipolar dynamo; a bipolar neuron
2.  relating to or found at the North and South Poles
3.  having or characterized by two opposed opinions, natures, etc
4.  (of a transistor) utilizing both majority and minority charge carriers
5.  suffering from bipolar manic-depressive disorder

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"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 Ger. 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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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
bipolar   (bī-pō'lər)  Pronunciation Key 
  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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Computing Dictionary

bipolar definition

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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Example sentences
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.
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