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[pol-uh-mer] /ˈpɒl ə mər/
noun, Chemistry
a compound of high molecular weight derived either by the addition of many smaller molecules, as polyethylene, or by the condensation of many smaller molecules with the elimination of water, alcohol, or the like, as nylon.
a compound formed from two or more polymeric compounds.
a product of polymerization.
Compare monomer.
Origin of polymer
1865-70; < Greek polymerḗs having many parts. See poly-, -mer
Related forms
superpolymer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for polymer
  • When the polymer is activated through inputs on a phone or controller, it will create that vibrating sensation.
  • The rink, made of recyclable polymer, requires no refrigeration or electricity.
  • Solar cells made from cheap, plastic polymer barely capture the energy in sunlight.
  • These group-saving individuals secrete a polymer that enables bunches of individuals to form floating mats.
  • And during the time of culture, the polymer degrades away.
  • It is indeed a biodegradable polymer, but it couldn't be made from styrene if styrene weren't biodegradable.
  • The cellulose that makes up the cell walls in plants is a polymer.
  • Each slab has a surface made of recycled truck tires and a base made of recycled polymer concrete.
  • Its sun shield, composed of five layers of aluminized polymer film, ought to do the trick.
  • They designed a tiny polymer disk saturated with dendritic cells and antigens specifically tuned to go after tumor cells.
British Dictionary definitions for polymer


a naturally occurring or synthetic compound, such as starch or Perspex, that has large molecules made up of many relatively simple repeated units Compare copolymer, oligomer
Derived Forms
polymerism (pəˈlɪməˌrɪzəm; ˈpɒlɪmə-) 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 polymer

a substance built from a large number of simple molecules of the same kind, 1855, probably from German Polymere (Berzelius, 1830), from Greek polymeres "having many parts," from polys "many" (see poly-) + meros "part" (see merit (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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polymer in Medicine

polymer pol·y·mer (pŏl'ə-mər)
Any of numerous compounds of usually high molecular weight and consisting of up to millions of repeated linked units, each a relatively light and simple molecule.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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polymer in Science
Any of various chemical compounds made of smaller, identical molecules (called monomers) linked together. Some polymers, like cellulose, occur naturally, while others, like nylon, are artificial. Polymers have extremely high molecular weights, make up many of the tissues of organisms, and have extremely varied and versatile uses in industry, such as in making plastics, concrete, glass, and rubber. ◇ The process by which molecules are linked together to form polymers is called polymerization (pŏl'ə-lĭm'ər-ĭ-zā'shən).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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polymer in Culture
polymer [(pol-uh-muhr)]

In chemistry, a long molecule made up of a chain of smaller, simpler molecules.

Note: Proteins and many carbohydrates, such as cellulose, are polymers. Plastics are also polymers.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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