1. A long, slender piece of wood; a tall, slender piece of timber; the stem of a small tree whose branches have been removed; as, specifically: A carriage pole, a wooden bar extending from the front axle of a carriage between the wheel horses, by which the carriage is guided and held back. A flag pole, a pole on which a flag is supported. A Maypole. See Maypole. A barber's pole, a pole painted in stripes, used as a sign by barbers and hairdressers. A pole on which climbing beans, hops, or other vines, are trained.
Origin: As. Pal, L. Palus, akin to pangere to make fast. Cf. Pale a stake, Pact.
2. <geometry> A point upon the surface of a sphere equally distant from every part of the circumference of a great circle; or the point in which a diameter of the sphere perpendicular to the plane of such circle meets the surface. Such a point is called the pole of that circle; as, the pole of the horizon; the pole of the ecliptic; the pole of a given meridian.
3. <physics> One of the opposite or contrasted parts or directions in which a polar force is manifested; a point of maximum intensity of a force which has two such points, or which has polarity; as, the poles of a magnet; the north pole of a needle.
<geography> Poles of the earth, or Terrestrial poles, the two opposite points on the earth's surface through which its axis passes. Poles of the heavens, or Celestial poles, the two opposite points in the celestial sphere which coincide with the earth's axis produced, and about which the heavens appear to revolve.
Origin: L. Polus, Gr. A pivot or hinge on which anything turns, an axis, a pole; akin to to move: cf. F. Pole.
(01 Mar 1998)
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