1. a small body of standing water; pond.
  2. a still, deep place in a stream.
  3. any small collection of liquid on a surface: a pool of blood.
  4. a puddle.
  5. swimming pool.
  6. a subterranean accumulation of oil or gas held in porous and permeable sedimentary rock (reservoir).
verb (used without object)
  1. to form a pool.
  2. (of blood) to accumulate in a body part or organ.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cause pools to form in.
  2. to cause (blood) to form pools.
  1. of or for a pool: pool filters.
  2. taking place or occurring around or near a pool: a pool party.

Origin of pool

before 900; Middle English; Old English pōl; cognate with Dutch poel, German Pfuhl


  1. Also called pocket billiards. any of various games played on a pool table with a cue ball and 15 other balls that are usually numbered, in which the object is to drive all the balls into the pockets with the cue ball.
  2. the total amount staked by a combination of bettors, as on a race, to be awarded to the successful bettor or bettors.
  3. the combination of such bettors.
  4. an association of competitors who agree to control the production, market, and price of a commodity for mutual benefit, although they appear to be rivals.
  5. Finance. a combination of persons or organizations for the purpose of manipulating the prices of securities.
  6. a combination of resources, funds, etc., for common advantage.
  7. the combined interests or funds.
  8. a facility, resource, or service that is shared by a group of people: a car pool; a typing pool.
  9. the persons or parties involved.
  10. the stakes in certain games.
  11. British. a billiard game.
  12. Fencing. a match in which each teammate successively plays against each member of the opposing team.
verb (used with object)
  1. to put (resources, money, etc.) into a pool, or common stock or fund, as for a financial venture, according to agreement.
  2. to form a pool of.
  3. to make a common interest of.
verb (used without object)
  1. to enter into or form a pool.
  1. of or belonging to a pool: a pool typist; a pool reporter.

Origin of pool

First recorded in 1685–95, pool is from the French word poule stakes, literally, hen. See pullet
Related formspool·er, noun

Synonyms for pool

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pools

Contemporary Examples of pools

Historical Examples of pools

British Dictionary definitions for pools


pl n
  1. British an organized nationwide principally postal gambling pool betting on the result of football matchesAlso called: football pools

Word Origin for pools

C20: from pool ² (in the sense: a gambling kitty)


  1. a small body of still water, usually fresh; small pond
  2. a small isolated collection of liquid spilt or poured on a surface; puddlea pool of blood
  3. a deep part of a stream or river where the water runs very slowly
  4. an underground accumulation of oil or gas, usually forming a reservoir in porous sedimentary rock
  5. See swimming pool

Word Origin for pool

Old English pōl; related to Old Frisian pōl, German Pfuhl


  1. any communal combination of resources, funds, etca typing pool
  2. the combined stakes of the betters in many gambling sports or games; kitty
  3. commerce a group of producers who conspire to establish and maintain output levels and high prices, each member of the group being allocated a maximum quota; price ring
  4. finance, mainly US
    1. a joint fund organized by security-holders for speculative or manipulative purposes on financial markets
    2. the persons or parties involved in such a combination
  5. any of various billiard games in which the object is to pot all the balls with the cue ball, esp that played with 15 coloured and numbered balls; pocket billiards
verb (tr)
  1. to combine (investments, money, interests, etc) into a common fund, as for a joint enterprise
  2. commerce to organize a pool of (enterprises)
  3. Australian informal to inform on or incriminate (someone)
See also pools

Word Origin for pool

C17: from French poule, literally: hen used to signify stakes in a card game, from Medieval Latin pulla hen, from Latin pullus young animal
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 pools



"small body of water," Old English pol "small body of water; deep, still place in a river," from West Germanic *pol- (cf. Old Frisian and Middle Low German pol, Dutch poel, Old High German pfuol, German Pfuhl). As a short form of swimming pool it is recorded from 1901. Pool party is from 1965.



game similar to billiards, 1848, originally (1690s) a card game played for collective stakes (a "pool"), from French poule "stakes, booty, plunder," literally "hen," from Old French poille "hen, young fowl" (see foal (n.)).

Perhaps the original notion is from jeu de la poule, supposedly a game in which people threw things at a chicken and the player who hit it, won it, which speaks volumes about life in the Middle Ages. The notion behind the word, then, is "playing for money." The connection of "hen" and "stakes" is also present in Spanish polla and Walloon paie.

Meaning "collective stakes" in betting first recorded 1869; sense of "common reservoir of resources" is from 1917. Meaning "group of persons who share duties or skills" is from 1928. From 1933 as short for football pool in wagering. Pool shark is from 1898. The phrase dirty pool "underhanded or unsportsmanlike conduct," especially in politics (1951), seems to belong here now, but the phrase dirty pool of politics, with an image of pool (n.1) is recorded from 1871 and was in use early 20c.



"to make a common interest, put things into a pool," 1871, from pool (n.2). Related: Pooled; pooling.



of liquid, "to form a pool or pools," 1620s, from pool (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pools in Medicine


  1. A collection of blood in any region of the body due to dilation and retardation of the circulation in capillaries and veins.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.