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poll tax

[pohl] /poʊl/
a capitation tax, the payment of which is sometimes a prerequisite to exercise the right of suffrage.
Also called head tax.
Origin of poll tax
First recorded in 1685-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for poll tax
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The poll tax and the insurance tax were used for other purposes.

  • He said that a poll tax might be levied on the subjects of Charles and Francis then in London.

    The Fifth Queen Ford Madox Ford
  • The most common and the most hated source of income in Virginia was the poll tax.

    Give Me Liberty Thomas J. Wertenbaker
  • Or, if he have no property, let him decline to pay his poll tax.

    Anarchism Paul Eltzbacher
  • It declared the poll tax levied in 1868, 1869 and 1870 illegal.

  • The poll tax provided revenue, not only for the general government, but for the counties and parishes.

    Give Me Liberty Thomas J. Wertenbaker
  • Though the poll tax usually was not excessive, it was a source of constant irritation.

    Give Me Liberty Thomas J. Wertenbaker
  • The sheriff of King and Queen County was arbitrarily removed when he was busy collecting the poll tax.

    Give Me Liberty Thomas J. Wertenbaker
British Dictionary definitions for poll tax

poll tax

a tax levied per head of adult population
an informal name for (the former) community charge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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poll tax in Culture

poll tax definition

A tax required as a qualification for voting. After the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution extended the vote to blacks in 1870, many southern states instituted poll taxes to prevent blacks from voting. The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1964, prohibits poll taxes for federal elections.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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