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pole 1

1. Either extremity of an axis through a sphere.
2. Either of the regions contiguous to the extremities of the earth's rotational axis, the North Pole or the South Pole.
3. Physics See magnetic pole.
4. Electricity Either of two oppositely charged terminals, as in an electric cell or battery.
5. Astronomy See celestial pole.
6. Biology
a. Either extremity of the main axis of a nucleus, cell, or organism.
b. Either end of the spindle formed in a cell during mitosis.
c. The point on a nerve cell where a process originates.
7. Either of two antithetical ideas, propensities, forces, or positions.
8. A fixed point of reference.
9. Mathematics
a. The origin in a polar coordinate system; the vertex of a polar angle.
b. A point in the complex plane at which a given function is not defined.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin polus, from Greek polos, axis, sky; see kwel- in Indo-European roots.]

pole 2

1. A long, relatively slender, generally rounded piece of wood or other material.
2. The long tapering wooden shaft extending up from the front axle of a vehicle to the collars of the animals drawing it; a tongue.
a. See rod.
b. A unit of area equal to a square rod.
4. Sports The inside position on the starting line of a racetrack: qualified in the time trials to start on the pole.
v. poled, pol·ing, poles
a. To propel with a pole: boatmen poling barges up a placid river.
b. To propel (oneself) or make (one's way) by the use of ski poles: "We ski through the glades on corn snow, then pole our way over a long one-hour runout to a road" (Frederick Selby).
2. To support (plants) with a pole.
3. To strike, poke, or stir with a pole.
1. To propel a boat or raft with a pole.
2. To use ski poles to maintain or gain speed.

[Middle English, from Old English pāl, from Latin pālus, stake; see pag- in Indo-European roots.]


1. A native or inhabitant of Poland.
2. A person of Polish ancestry.


  • sedan chair - An enclosed chair carried on poles.
  • oblate, prolate - Oblate means "flattened at the poles," and the opposite is prolate; the Earth is an oblate spheroid.
  • tent - Comes from a Latin word for "stretch," as early tents were made from cloth or skins stretched on poles.
  • running boards - Originally extended from bow to stern on canal boats—which men walked along, propelling the boats with poles.


1. The ends of the Earth’s axis, forming its northernmost and southernmost points: the North Pole and South Pole. Their locations do not correspond exactly with the North and South magnetic poles that are produced by the Earth’s magnetic properties.
2. Two points of a magnet where magnetism seems concentrated.
References in classic literature ?
The frozen poles of the earth do not coincide, either in the southern or in the northern regions; and, until it is proved to the contrary, we may suppose either a continent or an ocean free from ice at these two points of the globe.
All that day Potapitch remained in attendance upon her; but the Poles who directed her play she changed more than once.
The ice-bridges had to be tested, and either Daylight or Kama went in advance, snowshoes on their feet, and long poles carried crosswise in their hands.
It is even possible that the Selenites have already planted the flag on one of their poles, while Franklin, Ross, Kane, Dumont, d'Urville, and Lambert have never yet been able to attain that unknown point of the terrestrial globe.
But we must have already emerged and gone seven hundred or eight hundred leagues; and if I had here an astrolabe to take the altitude of the pole, I could tell thee how many we have travelled, though either I know little, or we have already crossed or shall shortly cross the equinoctial line which parts the two opposite poles midway.
The Pole brought with him, however, two other Poles who did not live at Amalia Ivanovna's and whom no one had seen here before.
They intimated that there was some band in the neighborhood, and probably a hunting party, as they had lodge poles for an encampment.
Ten minutes he maka da machine - one barrel, one wheel-hub, two poles, justa like dat.
They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders.
On the contrary, he is ungratefully disposed to regret the North Pole.
There was a great cornfield beyond the fence, and not far away she saw a Scarecrow, placed high on a pole to keep the birds from the ripe corn.
He had been getting on so well that he had grown quite cheeky over the business, and was walking up and down the punt, working his pole with a careless grace that was quite fascinating to watch.