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1. Very different or opposite in behavior or beliefs. My sister and I are very close now, but we were poles apart growing up and fought all the time. They make such an unlikely couple—though they are poles apart in many ways, they complement each other really well.
2. In total opposition. Unfortunately, the two sides are still poles apart in their negotiations. They agreed to tackle the issue together, even though they remained poles apart.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
very different; far from coming to an agreement. (Alludes to the distance between the north and south poles. *Typically: be ~; become ~; grow ~.) Mr. and Mrs. Jones don't get along well. They are poles apart. They'll never sign the contract because they are poles apart.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
In complete opposition, as in The two brothers were poles apart in nearly all their views. This expression alludes to the two extremities of the earth's axis, the North and South poles. [Early 1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
COMMON If two people, ideas, or situations are poles apart, they are very different. In social and political terms, the two men were poles apart. The final goals of both sides are poles apart and the negotiations will be tough. Note: The reference here is to the north and south poles.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012