Electronegativity is a measure of the tendency of an atom to attract a bonding pair of electrons.
The Pauling scale is the most commonly used. Fluorine (the most electronegative element) is assigned a value of 4.0, and values range down to caesium and francium which are the least electronegative at 0.7.
What happens if two atoms of equal electronegativity bond together?
Consider a bond between two atoms, A and B. Each atom may be forming other bonds as well as the one shown - but these are irrelevant to the argument.
If the atoms are equally electronegative, both have the same tendency to attract the bonding pair of electrons, and so it will be found on average half way between the two atoms. To get a bond like this, A and B would usually have to be the same atom. You will find this sort of bond in, for example, H2 or Cl2 molecules.
Note: It's important to realise that this is an average picture. The electrons are actually in a molecular orbital, and are moving around all the time within that orbital.
This sort of bond could be thought of as being a "pure" covalent bond - where the electrons are shared evenly between the two atoms.
What happens if B is slightly more electronegative than A?
B will attract the electron pair rather more than A does.
That means that the B end of the bond has more than its fair share of electron density and so becomes slightly negative. At the same time, the A end (rather short of electrons) becomes slightly positive. In the diagram, "￼" (read as "delta") means "slightly" - so ￼+ means "slightly positive".
Defining polar bonds
This is described as a polar bond. A polar bond is a covalent bond in which there is a separation of charge between one end and the other - in other words in which one end is slightly positive and the other slightly negative. Examples include most covalent bonds. The hydrogen-chlorine bond in HCl or the hydrogen-oxygen bonds in water are typical.
What happens if B is...