Definition of polarize in English:



  • 1Physics
    [with object] Restrict the vibrations of (a transverse wave, especially light) wholly or partially to one direction.

    ‘a polarizing microscope’
    • ‘Bile must be centrifuged and examined under polarizing or light microscopy for detection of precipitates.’
    • ‘The first step is creating light that is polarized, or whose electric field vibrates in only one of two directions, horizontal or vertical.’
    • ‘Even though the sun itself produces fully depolarized light, partially linearly polarized light is abundant in natural scenes.’
    • ‘We used the EOM and quarter-wave plate combination to rotate the polarization direction of the linearly polarized laser light.’
    • ‘A polarization converter polarizes an incident light beam having a first component with a first plane of polarization and a second component with a second plane of polarization orthogonal to the first plane.’
  • 2Physics
    [with object] Cause (something) to acquire polarity.

    ‘the electrode is polarized in aqueous solution’
    • ‘Next, we polarized mitochondria with succinate in the presence of rotenone to examine the effects of proton pumping on the transient depolarizations.’
    • ‘Whenever a gas gets sufficiently cold, ions attract a crowd by polarizing surrounding atoms - inducing a charge asymmetry in them - which draws them near.’
    • ‘The S atom in this side chain also helps polarize the C-H bond more than other methyl C-H bonds.’
    • ‘In their experiments, they polarise individual photons in opposite orientations to represent the zeros and ones of a digital number.’
    • ‘By polarizing the cells, ions are removed from the electrolyte and are held in the electric double layers formed at the carbon aerogel surfaces of the electrodes.’
  • 3Divide or cause to divide into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs.

    [no object] ‘the cultural sphere has polarized into two competing ideological positions’
    [with object] ‘Vietnam polarized political opinion’
    • ‘It saddens me that the political climate in the country has become so polarized, so divided, that it is literally tearing families and lifelong friends apart.’
    • ‘This force was all the more polarizing since, in contrast to neighboring countries, Colombia was not involved in any prolonged outside war.’
    • ‘It needed courage to raise such sensitive issues at a time when the political spectrum was so sharply polarised.’
    • ‘Analysts brushed aside on Friday fears that political parties would be polarized into Islamic and nationalist groupings in their struggle for power in the 2004 election.’
    • ‘Opinion on this issue is as divided and polarized as the position papers that comprise the prescription privilege debate.’
    • ‘Subtlety and particularity are lost; the public becomes conflated with the political, and, as a consequence, issues become polarized into mutually exclusive ideologies.’
    • ‘Having to make tough choices after an attack on American soil in a world that was already becoming polarized into pro and anti-American camps isn't a task I'd envy of anybody.’
    • ‘A proposal in 1978 to erect a statue in Perth to honour the Aboriginal leader Yagan polarised local historical opinion.’
    • ‘For the first time since the Vietnam War, foreign and security policy, not the usual menu of bread-and-butter issues, is polarizing U.S. public opinion.’
    • ‘Political life became sharply polarised between the left, dominated ideologically if not numerically by the Stalinists, and the right, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.’
    • ‘In fact, the Bristol parents were divided, and increasingly polarised in the course of the inquiry.’
    • ‘And that's certainly been a frustration that we've often had that is very difficult to talk about the adverse health effects of this drug in a climate where opinion is so highly polarised.’
    • ‘Media coverage of the culture wars makes it look as if the nation is becoming increasingly polarised but public opinion surveys show little change.’
    • ‘You will find opinions as polarised here as anywhere in the world, if not more so.’
    • ‘Throughout Europe, opinion was polarizing on religious grounds: England's role as a Protestant champion was central.’
    • ‘The debate quickly polarized into MFA and non-MFA camps without moving beyond the initial disagreement.’
    • ‘I have been observing this debate from arms length, since I found it quickly polarized into into totalizing positions that, between them, dominated the media's coverage.’
    • ‘In the end opinion polarized on a range of issues and the two groups went their separate ways in what became known as the ‘Great Schism’.’
    • ‘Finally, the various factions within the Lords which polarized into the Whigs and Tories, beginning in the 1670s, forms the final subject of this study.’
    • ‘The two sides remain sharply polarised, and periodic attempts to bridge the wide gulf between them have fizzled out.’