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A long, slender, rounded piece of wood or metal, typically used with one end placed in the ground as a support for something; from the late 15th century, of definite length, and used as a measure. From this, pole came to mean a measure of length, equivalent to a perch. Recorded from Old English, the word is of Germanic origin, ultimately based on Latin palus ‘stake’.

pole position the most favourable position at the start of a motor race, from a 19th-century use of pole in horse racing, denoting the starting position next to the inside boundary fence.

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