Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A controversial argument, especially one refuting or attacking a specific opinion or doctrine.
  • noun A person engaged in or inclined to controversy, argument, or refutation.
  • adjective Of or relating to a controversy, argument, or refutation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of or pertaining to controversy; controversial; disputative: as, a polemic essay or treatise; polemic divinity or theoIogy; polemic writers.
  • noun A disputant; one who carries on a controversy; a controversialist; one who writes in support of an opinion or a system in opposition to another.
  • noun A controversy; a controversial argument.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to controversy; maintaining, or involving, controversy; controversial; disputative
  • adjective Engaged in, or addicted to, polemics, or to controversy; disputations.
  • noun One who writes in support of one opinion, doctrine, or system, in opposition to another; one skilled in polemics; a controversialist; a disputant.
  • noun A polemic argument or controversy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person who writes in support of one opinion, doctrine, or system, in opposition to another; one skilled in polemics; a controversialist; a disputant.
  • noun An argument or controversy.
  • noun ​ A strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.
  • adjective Having the characteristics of a polemic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective of or involving dispute or controversy
  • noun a writer who argues in opposition to others (especially in theology)
  • noun a controversy (especially over a belief or dogma)

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French polémique, from Greek polemikos, hostile, from polemos, war.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French polémique, from Ancient Greek πολεμικός (polemikós, "of war"), from πόλεμος (pólemos, "war")

Examples

  • Sure, you can try to be anal and disagree with my use of the term polemic, and go on and on about how you don't like someone who also used that definition to present a pretty sound model, but it's just lazy.

    Punknews.org

  • Federal Farmer says: zuch: A polemic is hardly a “formal” document.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Obama Administration to Appeal in National Day of Prayer Case

  • Not sure I want to trust an anti-industry polemic from a probable lefty, with a history of twisting truth (see the full Aftershocks review) as reliable fact.

    Coyote Blog » Blog Archive » The Timeless Appeal of Triumphalism

  • Perhaps the entire polemic is much ado about nothing?

    Another Look

  • That having been said, my justification for setting aside a message novel or a polemic is that I hate being preached at.

    MIND MELD: SF with an Opposing Viewpoint

  • I couldn't tell because of the handle reference to Edmund Burke, whose anti-French Revolution and pro-American revolution polemic is often a heroic and mythological epic to conservatives.

    Balkinization

  • I couldn't tell because of the handle reference to Edmund Burke, whose anti-French Revolution and pro-American revolution polemic is often a heroic and mythological epic to conservatives.

    Balkinization

  • I couldn't tell because of the handle reference to Edmund Burke, whose anti-French Revolution and pro-American revolution polemic is often a heroic and mythological epic to conservatives.

    Balkinization

  • "Papist," but as far as I can tell, Pise is wrong: "Romanist" appears to be a familiar term of opprobrium in English polemic by the late seventeenth century.

    Religion

  • I couldn't tell because of the handle reference to Edmund Burke, whose anti-French Revolution and pro-American revolution polemic is often a heroic and mythological epic to conservatives.

    Balkinization

Comments

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  • In an ideal state of society one might imagine the good New growing naturally out of the good Old, without the need for polemic and theory; this would be a society with a living tradition.

    T. S. Eliot, "Reflections on Vers Libre"

    August 25, 2011

  • A controversial argument, especially one refuting or attacking a specific opinion or doctrine.

    n. A person engaged in or inclined to controversy, argument, or refutation.

    adj. Of or relating to a controversy, argument, or refutation.

    from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

    n. A person who writes in support of one opinion, doctrine, or system, in opposition to another; one skilled in polemics; a controversialist; a disputant.

    n. An argument or controversy.

    n. ​ A strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.

    adj. Having the characteristics of a polemic.

    September 7, 2013