polar effect

For a reactant molecule RY, the polar effect of the group R comprises all the processes whereby a substituent may modify the electrostatic forces operating at the reaction centre Y, relative to the standard R o Y. These forces may be governed by charge separations arising from differences in the electronegativity of atoms (leading to the presence of dipoles), the presence of unipoles, or electron delocalization. It is synonymous with electronic effect or 'electrical effect' of a substituent as distinguished from other substituent effects, e.g. steric effects. Sometimes, however, the term 'polar effect' is taken to refer to the influence, other than steric, that non-conjugated substituents exert on reaction rates, i.e. effects connected with electron delocalization between a substituent and the molecular framework to which it is attached are excluded. Polar effect is then not synonymous with electronic effect
See also: field effect, inductive effect, mesomeric effect
PAC, 1994, 66, 1077. 'Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1994)' on page 1150 (https://doi.org/10.1351/pac199466051077)