adj. Able to withstand extreme cold, particularly the frigid conditions created by the polar vortex weather phenomenon.
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Polar vortex-proof wool sweaters from Iceland. Traditional Ukrainian religious icons. Reindeer jerky. These are just some of the holiday gifts you can cross off your list this weekend at holiday markets sponsored by local cultural organizations.
—Fritz Hahn, “D.C.-area Christmas bazaars offer a world tour of holiday cheer,” The Washington Post, November 20, 2014
The legendary Maine clothing retailer is promoting what it calls a "vortex proof" winter coat, further evidence that a once-obscure phenomenon known only to geeks in the meteorological subculture has emerged as a national player.
—Tony Wood, “Vortex proof?,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 20, 2014
2014 (earliest)
While most are concerned with the science behind the forthcoming polar vortex, we're busy thinking about how it will inspire our personal style.
—Lauren Valenti, “What You Need Now: 12 Polar Vortex-Proof Winter Whites,” Styleite, January 06, 2014
You can search Word Spy all day long but you won't find an entry for polar vortex. That's because although this phrase feels new — last January, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said that "they just created it for this week" — it's actually very old. My original research found lots of examples from 1950s, but last week Ben Zimmer showed in a Wall Street Journal article that the phrase dates to 1853!
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