Definition of polemic in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəˈlɛmɪk/


1A strong verbal or written attack on someone or something: his polemic against the cultural relativism of the Sixties [mass noun]: a writer of feminist polemic
More example sentences
  • Its underlying message warns against falsehood and its consequences, although it does not ostensibly function as a polemic against homophobia.
  • And yet, the song is not just a polemic against those who are in power.
  • The latter may be because I'd always prefer to read a punchy polemic against ideas I hold than a dull defence or clunky statement of them.
diatribe, invective, denunciation, denouncement, rant, tirade, broadside, attack, harangue, verbal onslaught;
condemnation, brickbats, criticism, admonishment, admonition, abuse, stream of abuse, stricture, tongue-lashing, castigation, reprimand, rebuke, reproof, reproval, upbraiding
informal knocking, blast
British informal slating
rare philippic
argumentation, argument, debate, contention, dispute, disputation, discussion, controversy, altercation, faction, wrangling
formal contestation
1.1 (usually polemics) The practice of engaging in controversial debate or dispute: the history of science has become embroiled in religious polemics
More example sentences
  • As the rest of the world marched towards scientific orientation and professionalism, India wallowed in a whirlpool of politics, polemics and puerile prejudices.
  • His work thus has the tendency to reproduce the elisions of the religious and political polemics of the sixteenth century while seeking to explain them.
  • This led to renewed polemics, although in practice the great majority of students continued to be taught the Catholic religion in the schools.


another term for polemical.
Example sentences
  • The other part is that these policies our present or future governments develop for mainly polemic purposes sometimes actually get implemented!
  • I really do think it's perfectly OK to expose one's passions and prejudices in unashamedly polemic writing on a blog.
  • Much of this, expressed in less polemic language, is accepted by many of the historians that Jenkins seeks to criticize.



(also polemicise) verb
Example sentences
  • It is a portrait of a unique situation that I never experienced, and it does not go out of its way to generalize or polemicize, though it has its strong opinions.
  • There are poems steeped in religious imagery, and poems that polemicise against belief in the supernatural.
  • Jackson's hybrid approach and heterogeneous materials, including brochures with song lyrics and lists of things you can't send abroad, polemicized the devices of installation art.


Mid 17th century: via medieval Latin from Greek polemikos, from polemos 'war'.

Words that rhyme with polemic

academic, alchemic, endemic, epidemic, pandemic, totemic

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: po|lem¦ic

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