"engage in controversial argument, carry on a controversy," 1953, from polemic + -ize. Related: Polemicized; polemicizing. Earlier was polemize (1828), from Greek polemizein "to make war, to wage war," from polemos "war," a word of unknown origin.
1630s, "controversial argument or discussion, a controversy," from French polémique (16c./17c.), noun use of adjective meaning "disputatious, controversial" (see polemic (adj.)). From 1670s as "a disputant, one who writes or argues in opposition to another."
word-forming element used to make verbs, Middle English -isen, from Old French -iser/-izer, from Late Latin -izare, from Greek -izein, a verb-forming element denoting the doing of the noun or adjective to which it is attached.
The variation of -ize and -ise began in Old French and Middle English, perhaps aided by a few words (such as surprise, see below) where the ending is French or Latin, not Greek. With the classical revival, English partially reverted to the correct Greek -z- spelling from late 16c. But the 1694 edition of the authoritative French Academy dictionary standardized the spellings as -s-, which influenced English.
In Britain, despite the opposition to it (at least formerly) of OED, Encyclopaedia Britannica, the Times of London, and Fowler, -ise remains dominant. Fowler thinks this is to avoid the difficulty of remembering the short list of common words not from Greek which must be spelled with an -s- (such as advertise, devise, surprise). American English has always favored -ize. The spelling variation involves about 200 English verbs.
<a href="https://www.etymonline.com/word/polemicize">Etymology of polemicize by etymonline</a>
Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of polemicize. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved $(datetime), from https://www.etymonline.com/word/polemicize