verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to vote at the polls; give one's vote.

Origin of poll

1250–1300; Middle English polle (hair of the) head < Middle Low German: hair of the head, top of a tree or other plant; akin to Danish puld, Swedish pull crown of the head
Related formspoll·a·ble, adjectivepoll·er, nounre·poll·ing, noun




(especially at Cambridge University, England)
the body of students who read for or obtain a degree without honors.
Also called poll degree. pass degree.

Origin of poll

1785–95; apparently < Greek polloí, in hoi polloí the many; see poly-




Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Contemporary Examples of poll

Historical Examples of poll

British Dictionary definitions for poll



the casting, recording, or counting of votes in an election; a voting
the result or quantity of such a votinga heavy poll
Also called: opinion poll
  1. a canvassing of a representative sample of a large group of people on some question in order to determine the general opinion of the group
  2. the results or record of such a canvassing
any counting or enumerationa poll of the number of men with long hair
short for poll tax
a list or enumeration of people, esp for taxation or voting purposes
the striking face of a hammer
the occipital or back part of the head of an animal

verb (mainly tr)

to receive (a vote or quantity of votes)he polled 10 000 votes
to receive, take, or record the votes ofhe polled the whole town
to canvass (a person, group, area, etc) as part of a survey of opinion
mainly US to take the vote, verdict, opinion, etc, individually of each member (of a jury, conference, etc)
(sometimes intr) to cast (a vote) in an election
computing (in data transmission when several terminals share communications channels) to check each channel rapidly to establish which are free, or to call for data from each terminal in turn
to clip or shear
to remove or cut short the horns of (cattle)

Word Origin for poll

C13 (in the sense: a human head) and C17 (in the modern sense: a counting of heads, votes): from Middle Low German polle hair of the head, head, top of a tree; compare Swedish pull crown of the head
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

Word Origin and History for poll

"head," early 14c., polle "hair of the head; piece of fur from the head of an animal," also "head," from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch pol "head, top." Sense extended early 14c. to "person, individual." Meaning "collection of votes" is first recorded 1620s, from notion of "counting heads;" meaning "survey of public opinion" is first recorded 1902. Poll tax, literally "head tax," is from 1690s. Literal use in English tends toward the part of the head where the hair grows.


"to take the votes of," 1620s, from poll (n.). Related: Polled; polling. A deed poll "deed executed by one party only," is from earlier verbal meaning "cut the hair of," because the deed was cut straight rather than indented (see indent).


"to cut, trim," late 14c., "to cut short the hair" (of an animal or person), from poll (n.). Of trees or plants from 1570s. Related: Polled; polling.


fem. proper name, short for Polly. Noted from 1620s as a parrot's name.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper