of or relating to the North or South Pole.
of or relating to the pole of any sphere, a magnet, an electric cell, etc.
opposite in character or action: The two have personalities that are polar.
capable of ionizing, as NaCl, HCl, or NaOH; electrolytic; heteropolar.
central; pivotal: the polar provision of the treaty.
analogous to the polestar as a guide; guiding: a polar precept.

Origin of polar

From the Medieval Latin word polāris, dating back to 1545–55. See pole2, -ar1
Related formsan·ti·po·lar, adjectivetrans·po·lar, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for polar

Contemporary Examples of polar

Historical Examples of polar

  • Polar ice would have been thawed by this reopening of communication.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • But here, within the Polar circle, what is the lowest degree?

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • It is no new sea, returned Altamont; it is in every Polar chart, and has a name already.

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • It was a domed city in the polar regions, where nobody ever had to go outdoors.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • I wonder if he's been frozen to death or eat up by polar bears, or what.

    Thankful's Inheritance

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for polar



situated at or near, coming from, or relating to either of the earth's poles or the area inside the Arctic or Antarctic Circlespolar regions
having or relating to a pole or poles
pivotal or guiding in the manner of the Pole Star
directly opposite, as in tendency or character
  1. Also: heteropolar(of a molecule or compound) being or having a molecule in which there is an uneven distribution of electrons and thus a permanent dipole momentwater has polar molecules
  2. (of a crystal or substance) being or having a crystal that is bound by ionic bondssodium chloride forms polar crystals
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

Word Origin and History for polar

1550s, from Middle French polaire (16c.) or directly from Medieval Latin polaris "of or pertaining to the poles," from Latin polus "an end of an axis" (see pole (n.2)). Meaning "directly opposite in character or tendency" is attested from 1832. Polar bear first recorded 1781.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

polar in Medicine




Of or relating to a pole.
Having poles. Used of certain nerve cells having one or more processes.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

polar in Science



Relating to a pole, such as the pole of a magnet or one of the electrodes of an electrolytic cell.
Relating to the North Pole or the South Pole of Earth, or analogous regions of another planet.
Relating to a molecule or substance that has polar bonds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.