[ pol-uh-mer ]

  1. a compound of high molecular weight derived either by the addition of many smaller molecules, as polyethylene, or by the condensation of many smaller molecules with the elimination of water, alcohol, or the like, as nylon.

  2. a compound formed from two or more polymeric compounds.

  1. a product of polymerization.

Compare Meanings

Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.

Origin of polymer

First recorded in 1865–70, polymer is from the Greek word polymerḗs having many parts. See poly-, -mer

Other words from polymer

  • su·per·pol·y·mer, noun

Words Nearby polymer

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use polymer in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for polymer


/ (ˈpɒlɪmə) /

  1. a naturally occurring or synthetic compound, such as starch or Perspex, that has large molecules made up of many relatively simple repeated units: Compare copolymer, oligomer

Derived forms of polymer

  • polymerism (pəˈlɪməˌrɪzəm, ˈpɒlɪmə-), noun

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

Scientific definitions for polymer


[ pŏlə-mər ]

  1. Any of various chemical compounds made of smaller, identical molecules (called monomers) linked together. Some polymers, like cellulose, occur naturally, while others, like nylon, are artificial. Polymers have extremely high molecular weights, make up many of the tissues of organisms, and have extremely varied and versatile uses in industry, such as in making plastics, concrete, glass, and rubber.♦ The process by which molecules are linked together to form polymers is called polymerization (pŏl′ə-lĭm′ər-ĭ-zāshən).

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for polymer


[ (pol-uh-muhr) ]

In chemistry, a long molecule made up of a chain of smaller, simpler molecules.

Notes for polymer

Proteins and many carbohydrates, such as cellulose, are polymers. Plastics are also polymers.

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.