poles apart


poles apart


  • completely different and opposite.
  • possess no similarity.
  • not related to each other.
  • totally opposite in behavior, opinions, qualities, or beliefs.
  • absolutely different in every way.

Example Sentences

  1. In personality and culture, the couple are poles apart.
  2. The twins who live in my neighborhood may look alike, but they are poles apart in their behavior.
  3. Although Cathy and her husband are poles apart, they still love each other.


The idiom “poles apart” is a vivid expression that describes two things or individuals that are incredibly different or have opposing views, beliefs, or characteristics. To understand its origin and history, we delve into the fascinating backstory, interesting facts, and varied variants of this evocative phrase.

The origin of the idiom can be traced back to the early 20th century, with its roots in geography and physics. In this context, “poles” refer to the geographic North and South Poles, the farthest points on Earth in opposite directions. The phrase draws an analogy between the extreme distance and dissimilarity of these geographical poles and the vast differences between the two entities.

The idiom “poles apart” first appeared in written records in the early 1900s, gaining popularity during the mid-20th century. Although its exact origin remains elusive, it gradually became a recognized part of the English language, capturing people’s imagination as they sought to convey the idea of stark contrasts.
As with many idiomatic expressions, “poles apart” has inspired numerous variants, each adding its own flair to the original phrase. Variations like “worlds apart,” “miles apart,” and “day and night” echo the same concept of immense divergence.

Unraveling the precise individual responsible for coining the phrase “poles apart” is challenging due to the nature of language evolution. Idioms often emerge organically through common usage rather than being attributed to a single source or publication. However, it is believed that the phrase gained widespread recognition through literary works and colloquial conversations in the mid-20th century.

This idiomatic expression has secured its place as a powerful and expressive metaphor in the English language. Its origins in geography and physics have seamlessly translated into a versatile expression that reflects the significant disparities and differences between various entities. As language continues to evolve, this evocative idiom will also leave an indelible mark on the tapestry of human expression.

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