Most all Spanish racing blogs and news stations use the word "pole" to mean that a driver will start a race from the 1st position of the grid, ahead of everybody else.
Even in their speech, Spanish sports commentators use the word with a Spanish pronunciation, like \ˈpō-le\ instead of English \ˈpōl \.

I'm so used to hear it, that I was actually surprised when I found out that the DLE does not recognize it.

If I look up translations of "pole", I just find words like "poste", "barra", "mástil" etc. -- nothing related to racing.

So is there an Spanish word that can be used instead of "pole"? Meaning specifically "first starting place", not just "first place". Short expressions (2-3 words) may make it too.

PS: Not that I think we should stop using "pole", everybody understands it and it will get accepted into the DLE sooner or later (like e.g. córner). But it'd be nice to find some alternatives :)

  • i looks like we won't be able to come up with a good word and we will have to accept the neologism pole `\pō-le`
    – DGaleano
    Oct 19, 2017 at 13:25

3 Answers 3


According to the English Wikipedia

The term has its origins in horse racing, in which the fastest qualifying horse would be placed on the inside part of the course, next to the pole.

So you need a word which applies to that sort of pole, a tall thin one stuck in the ground or secured to the rails. I would suggest poste looks good.

The term poste is used in horse racing in Spanish for the poles which mark the distances

Con trece aspirantes al triunfo desde el poste de los 2.500 metros.

From http://www.abc.es/deportes/abci-carreras-caballos-sigue-directo-jornada-hipodromo-zarzuela-201707021004_noticia.html

Which I assume means that there were still 13 horses in the running at the 2500 metre post (or 12 furlong or mile and a quarter post as we would say in the UK).

  • That's a translation according to the origin of the word in English, but in Spanish we would not need that link with its origin, but a link with its current meaning. But that's indeed a clue, is there a similar term for horse races in Spanish?
    – Charlie
    Oct 19, 2017 at 8:55
  • 1
    @Charlie I have added an example. The key search term seems to be poste carreras caballo which throws up many hits
    – mdewey
    Oct 19, 2017 at 11:44

Primer puesto springs to mind and seems to be confirmed by Linguee

The examples given there are about nations' positions in global economy, but in a race to start from pole position could be translated salir desde el primer puesto.


La pole position es la primera posición de la parrilla de salida (o grilla de partida, en algunos países de América).

Reference: Fundeu

  • Pues es como se comenta en la referencia y aqui, primera posicion.
    – AlexBcn
    Oct 19, 2017 at 11:28
  • Entendido. Como nota en ingles tambien usan frases como "pole position on the grid", con pole position bastaria... Las cursivas en el enlace de Fundeu solo se centran en primera posición pero no es practica para todos los casos.
    – AlexBcn
    Oct 19, 2017 at 12:46

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