[ puh-lem-iks, poh- ]
/ pəˈlɛm ɪks, poʊ- /

noun (used with a singular verb)

the art or practice of disputation or controversy: a master of polemics.
the branch of theology dealing with the history or conduct of ecclesiastical disputation and controversy.
Compare irenics.

Origin of polemics

First recorded in 1630–40; see origin at polemic, -ics

Definition for polemics (2 of 2)

[ puh-lem-ik, poh- ]
/ pəˈlɛm ɪk, poʊ- /


a controversial argument, as one against some opinion, doctrine, etc.
a person who argues in opposition to another; controversialist.


Also po·lem·i·cal. of or relating to a polemic; controversial.

Origin of polemic

1630–40; < Greek polemikós of or for war, equivalent to pólem(os) war + -ikos -ic


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for polemics

British Dictionary definitions for polemics (1 of 2)

/ (pəˈlɛmɪks) /


(functioning as singular) the art or practice of dispute or argument, as in attacking or defending a doctrine or belief

British Dictionary definitions for polemics (2 of 2)

/ (pəˈlɛmɪk) /

adjective Also: po'lemical

of or involving dispute or controversy


an argument or controversy, esp over a doctrine, belief, etc
a person engaged in such an argument or controversy

Derived forms of polemic

polemically, adverbpolemicist (pəˈlɛmɪsɪst) or polemist (ˈpɒlɪmɪst), noun

Word Origin for polemic

C17: from Medieval Latin polemicus, from Greek polemikos relating to war, from polemos war
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