polarization

[poh-ler-uh-zey-shuh n]
See more synonyms for polarization on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a sharp division, as of a population or group, into opposing factions.
  2. Optics. a state, or the production of a state, in which rays of light or similar radiation exhibit different properties in different directions.Compare circular polarization, elliptical polarization, plane polarization.
  3. Electricity.
    1. the deposit of gases, produced during electrolysis, on the electrodes of a cell, increasing the resistance of the cell.
    2. a vector quantity indicating the electric dipole moment per unit of volume of a dielectric.
    3. the induction of polarity in a ferromagnetic substance.
  4. the production or acquisition of polarity.

Origin of polarization

First recorded in 1805–15; polarize + -ation
Related formsde·po·lar·i·za·tion, nounre·po·lar·i·za·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for polarization

Contemporary Examples of polarization

  • The astronomers found that of the 93 quasars in the sample, 19 exhibited a measurable amount of polarization.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Black Hole Tango

    Matthew R. Francis

    November 24, 2014

  • The direction of polarization for a quasar is determined by the accretion disk surrounding it.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Black Hole Tango

    Matthew R. Francis

    November 24, 2014

  • The authors took care to eliminate the possibility of other sources of polarization, which is always a concern in astronomy.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Black Hole Tango

    Matthew R. Francis

    November 24, 2014

  • One of the wages of polarization is the obscuring of what once was broad common ground even on supposed culture war issues.

    The Daily Beast logo
    What We Didn’t Learn After Newtown

    John Avlon

    December 8, 2013

  • In the age of gridlock and polarization, this is a moment to be celebrated—Coulter and Baldwin in perfect harmony!

Historical Examples of polarization

  • This condition is called "polarization," and to prevent it has been the aim of all inventors.

  • Explain how the fact of polarization affects the wave theory of light.

    Physics

    Willis Eugene Tower

  • Nature of Light; wave theory, interference, polarization, significance.

    Physics

    Willis Eugene Tower

  • He stepped up the polarization, his body clouded, and cooled once more.

    Captives of the Flame

    Samuel R. Delany

  • Its disappearance seemed to substantiate the polarization theory.

    Darkness and Dawn

    George Allan England


British Dictionary definitions for polarization

polarization

polarisation

noun
  1. the condition of having or giving polarity
  2. physics the process or phenomenon in which the waves of light or other electromagnetic radiation are restricted to certain directions of vibration, usually specified in terms of the electric field vector
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 polarization
n.

1812, from polarize + -ation, and in part from French polarisation, noun of action from polariser. Figuratively from 1871; of social and political groups, "accentuation of differences," from 1945.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

polarization in Medicine

polarization

[pō′lər-ĭ-zāshən]
n.
  1. The production or condition of polarity.
  2. A process or state in which rays of light exhibit different properties in different directions, especially the state in which all the vibration takes place in one plane.
  3. The partial or complete polar separation of positive and negative electric charge in a nuclear, atomic, molecular, or chemical system.
  4. The coating of an electrode with a thick layer of hydrogen bubbles, with the result that the flow of current is weakened or arrested.
  5. The development of differences in potential between two points in living tissues, as between the inside and outside of the cell wall.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

polarization in Science

polarization

[pō′lər-ĭ-zāshən]
  1. A condition in which transverse waves vibrate consistently in a single plane, or along a circle or ellipse. Electromagnetic radiation such as light is composed of transverse waves and can be polarized. Certain kinds of light filters, including sunglasses that reduce glare, work by filtering out light that is polarized in one direction.
  2. The displacement of positive and negative electric charge to opposite ends of a nuclear, atomic, molecular, or chemical system, especially by subjection to an electric field. Atoms and molecules have some inherent polarization.
  3. An increased resistance to the flow of current in a voltaic cell, caused by chemical reactions at the electrodes. Polarization results in a reduction of the electric potential across the voltaic cell.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

polarization in Culture

polarization

The direction in which the electrical field of an electromagnetic wave points.

Note

Reflected light, such as the light that produces glare on a sunny day, is polarized so that the electrical field is parallel to the ground. Some sunglasses are designed to take advantage of this property by blocking out that particular polarization while allowing other light to come through.

polarization

In politics, the grouping of opinions around two extremes: “As the debate continued, the union members were polarized into warring factions.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.