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[poh-luh-rahyzd] /ˈpoʊ ləˌraɪzd/
of or relating to a medium that exhibits polarization.
(of an electric plug or outlet) designed so that the plug and outlet fit together in only one way.
1920-25; polarize + -ed2
Related forms
nonpolarized, adjective
unpolarized, adjective


[poh-luh-rahyz] /ˈpoʊ ləˌraɪz/
verb (used with object), polarized, polarizing.
to cause polarization in.
to divide into sharply opposing factions, political groups, etc.:
The controversy has polarized voters into proabortion and antiabortion groups.
to give polarity to.
verb (used without object), polarized, polarizing.
to become polarized.
Also, especially British, polarise.
1805-15; polar + -ize
Related forms
polarizable, adjective
polarizability, noun
depolarize, verb (used with object), depolarized, depolarizing.
nonpolarizable, adjective
nonpolarizing, adjective
repolarize, verb (used with object), repolarized, repolarizing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for polarized
  • Other researchers have been looking into whether there is a biological basis to the polarized reactions to cilantro's flavor.
  • The polarized gray lenses are tough, and they create minimal distortion.
  • The mixture then formed crystals, seen here magnified ten times under specially polarized light.
  • We're trapped in a polarized state of indifference to each other's complexities and conflicts.
  • Apparently the society became polarized during the elections.
  • And that is exactly why our politics are so polarized.
  • It's as polarized as the comments that usually follow an article on any government activity.
  • And people are quickly polarized when perhaps, if they were speaking face to face, it would be an easier conversation.
  • If the energy from which all matter was initially derived was polarized and spinning, it could only spin in one direction.
  • Even on a cloudy day, the sky still forms a pattern of concentric rings of polarized light with the sun at its center.
British Dictionary definitions for polarized


to acquire or cause to acquire polarity
to acquire or cause to acquire polarization: to polarize light
to cause people to adopt extreme opposing positions: to polarize opinion
Derived Forms
polarizable, polarisable, adjective
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 polarized



1811, in optics, from French polariser, coined by French physicist Étienne-Louis Malus (1775-1812) as a term in optics, from Modern Latin polaris "polar" (see polar). Transferred sense of "to accentuate a division in a group or system" is first recorded 1949 in Arthur Koestler. Related: Polarized; polarizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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polarized in Science
  1. To separate or accumulate positive and negative electric charges in two distinct regions. Polarized objects have an electric dipole moment and will undergo torque when placed in an external electric field.

  2. To magnetize a substance so that it has the properties of a magnetic dipole, such as having a north and south pole.

  3. To cause the electrical and magnetic fields associated with electromagnetic waves, especially light, to vibrate in a particular direction or path. The transverse electric and magnetic waves always vibrate at right angles to each other, but in ordinary unpolarized light sources, the direction of polarization of each wave is randomly distributed. Light can be polarized by reflection, and by passing through certain materials. See more at polarization.

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