[poh-lair-is, -lar-, puh-]
  1. Astronomy. the polestar or North Star, a star of the second magnitude situated close to the north pole of the heavens, in the constellation Ursa Minor: the outermost star in the handle of the Little Dipper.
  2. a two-stage U.S. ballistic missile, usually fired from a submerged submarine.

Origin of Polaris

1955–60; short for Medieval Latin stella polāris polar star


[puh-lahr-ee, paw-]
  1. a distinctive English argot in use since at least the 18th century among groups of theatrical and circus performers and in certain homosexual communities, derived largely from Italian, directly or through Lingua Franca.

Origin of Polari

ultimately < Italian parlare to speak, talk; see parle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for polaris

Contemporary Examples of polaris

Historical Examples of polaris

  • Ramsey went up the gangway and got his gear from the Polaris.

    Equation of Doom

    Gerald Vance

  • Yet his rating called him an experienced man on the Polaris run.

    The Colors of Space

    Marion Zimmer Bradley

  • A morning twilight sight for a fix or, at least, for latitude by Polaris.

    Lectures in Navigation

    Ernest Gallaudet Draper

  • The Polaris came in sight, but paid no attention to signals.

    Notable Voyagers

    W.H.G. Kingston and Henry Frith

  • You open the Polaris at nine in the morning and close her at nine at night.

British Dictionary definitions for polaris


  1. Also called: the Pole Star, the North Star the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, situated slightly less than 1° from the north celestial pole. It is a Cepheid variable, with a period of four days. Visual magnitude: 2.08–2.17; spectral type: F8Ib
    1. a type of US two-stage intermediate-range ballistic missile, usually fired by a submerged submarine
    2. (as modifier)a Polaris submarine

Word Origin for Polaris

shortened from Medieval Latin stella polāris polar star


Parlyaree (pɑːˈljɑːrɪ)

  1. an English slang that is derived from the Lingua Franca of Mediterranean ports; brought to England by sailors from the 16th century onwards. A few words survive, esp in male homosexual slang

Word Origin for Polari

C19: from Italian parlare to speak
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 polaris



1769, short for stella polaris, Modern Latin, literally "the pole star" (see polar). The ancient Greeks called it Phoenice, "the Phoenician (star)," because the Phoenicians used it for navigation, though due to precession of the equinoxes it was not then the pole star. Also see pole (n.2). The Old English word for it was Scip-steorra "ship-star," reflecting its importance in navigation. As the name of a U.S. Navy long-range submarine-launched guided nuclear missile, it dates from 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

polaris in Science


  1. A bright star at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper in the constellation Ursa Minor. Polaris is 1° from the north celestial pole, and it remains in the same location in the sky all year, making it a useful navigation tool. Polaris is actually a double star with a faint companion star and has an apparent magnitude of 2.04. Also called North Star. Scientific name: Alpha Ursae Minoris.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.