[poh-lar-i-tee, puh-]


  1. the property or characteristic that produces unequal physical effects at different points in a body or system, as a magnet or storage battery.
  2. the positive or negative state in which a body reacts to a magnetic, electric, or other field.
the presence or manifestation of two opposite or contrasting principles or tendencies.
  1. (of words, phrases, or sentences) positive or negative character.
  2. polar opposition.

Origin of polarity

First recorded in 1640–50; polar + -ity
Related formsnon·po·lar·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for polarity

Contemporary Examples of polarity

Historical Examples of polarity

  • But you said the polarity couldn't be that of a magnet; then what?


    Victor Endersby

  • If so, it was by a reversal of polarity through an act of will.


    Victor Endersby

  • His polarity had changed: his electricity was no longer negative, but positive.

  • But if this be the case, how are we to conceive the physical mechanism of this polarity?

  • The polarity of magnetism and electricity also appealed to the senses.

British Dictionary definitions for polarity


noun plural -ties

the condition of having poles
the condition of a body or system in which it has opposing physical properties at different points, esp magnetic poles or electric charge
the particular state of a part of a body or system that has polarityan electrode with positive polarity
the state of having or expressing two directly opposite tendencies, opinions, etc
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 polarity

1640s, originally of magnets, from polar + -ity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

polarity in Medicine


[pō-lărĭ-tē, pə-]


The property of having two opposite poles, such as those possessed by a magnet, or of having opposite properties or characteristics.
The direction or orientation of positivity relative to negativity.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

polarity in Science



The condition of having poles or being aligned with or directed toward poles, especially magnetic or electric poles.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.