up the pole

idiomatic phrase

British
: mentally unsound
used informally in an exaggerated way
The pressure of his job nearly drove him up the pole.
… my mum was up the pole worrying about how she was going to pay the bills.Carolyn Leckie

Examples of up the pole in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The ball hit halfway up the pole bracing the batter’s eye at backfield No. 1 before caroming into play. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 13 Mar. 2023 McGill, who turns 24 on Sept. 20, has had a varied background in sports, participating in soccer and lacrosse as a youth before running cross country and taking up the pole vault at Fallston High. Edward Lee, Baltimore Sun, 1 Sep. 2022 This particular utility box is about two-thirds of the way up the pole. Washington Post, 24 Apr. 2022 Slabs of different colors crawl up the pole, which is removeable and can be installed in two different places on the Harrison Center's new rooftop deck. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Mar. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'up the pole.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1904, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of up the pole was in 1904

Dictionary Entries Near up the pole

Cite this Entry

“Up the pole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/up%20the%20pole. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

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