- When a special microscope forces the transverse waves created by a light to be focused only in one direction, this is an example of when it polarizes.
- When a political leader pits one group of people in society against another using inflammatory speech, this is an example of when he polarizes the groups.
Polarize is to force a something or someone to go in only one direction, or to cause people to divide into two very distinct groups.
transitive verb-·ized·, -·iz·ing
- to give polarity to; produce polarization in
- to cause to divide into two opposing groups, as through a disagreement over policy
Origin of polarizeFrench polariser from polaire from Medieval Latin polaris, polar
to acquire polarity; specif., to separate into diametrically opposed, often antagonistic, groups, viewpoints, etc.
verbpo·lar·ized, po·lar·iz·ing, po·lar·iz·es
- a. To induce polarization in or impart polarity to.b. To design so as to permit light only of a certain polarization: Are these sunglasses polarized?
- To cause to divide into two conflicting or opposing groups: The issue of slavery polarized the nation.
- To acquire polarity.
- To cause polarization of light or permit light of a certain polarization.
- To become divided into two conflicting or opposing groups: The town is polarizing into opposing factions over the issue.
(third-person singular simple present polarizes, present participle polarizing, simple past and past participle polarized)
- (US) To cause to have a polarization.
- (US) To cause a group to be divided into extremes.