\ˈpōl \

Definition of poll 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : head

2a : the top or back of the head

b : nape

3 : the broad or flat end of a striking tool (such as a hammer)

4a(1) : the casting or recording of the votes of a body of persons

(2) : a counting of votes cast

b : the place where votes are cast or recorded usually used in plural at the polls

c : the period of time during which votes may be cast at an election

d : the total number of votes recorded a heavy poll

5a : a questioning or canvassing of persons selected at random or by quota to obtain information or opinions to be analyzed

b : a record of the information so obtained


polled; polling; polls

Definition of poll (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cut off or cut short the hair or wool of : crop, shear

b : to cut off or cut short (a material, such as wool)

2a : to cut off or back the top of (something, such as a tree) specifically : pollard

b : to cut off or cut short the horns of (cattle)

3a : to receive and record the votes of

b : to request each member of to declare a vote individually poll the assembly

4 : to receive (votes) in an election

5 : to question or canvass in a poll

6 : to check (devices, such as several computer terminals sharing a single line) in sequence for messages waiting to be transmitted

intransitive verb

: to cast one's vote at a poll

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Other Words from poll


pollee \pō-ˈlē \ noun
poller \ˈpō-lər \ noun

Synonyms for poll

Synonyms: Noun

bean, block [slang], dome, head, noddle, noggin, noodle, pate

Synonyms: Verb

bob, clip, crop, cut, cut back, dock, lop (off), nip, pare, prune, shave, shear, snip, trim

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Examples of poll in a Sentence


The magazine conducted a poll to find out the favorite 100 movies of all time. A recent poll shows a decrease in the number of teenagers who smoke. The polls are open until 8:00 tonight.


About half of the people polled had tried smoking. The conservative candidate polled more than 10,000 votes in the last election.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Human Rights Campaign, a national equality advocacy group, released the poll in December 2017 showing 60 percent of respondents want to ban employment discrimination against people who are LGBT. Zahra Ahmad, azcentral, "'Scottsdale for All' hopes to spread inclusiveness," 13 July 2018 To be fair, Instagram didn't set out to deceive users: The app was transparent about how polls worked from the start. Madeline Buxton, refinery29.com, "Instagram Stories' New Questions Sticker Should Come With A Warning Label," 10 July 2018 The people have spoken, via a Seattle Times burger-bracket poll: Seattle’s top four burger joints are officially Dick’s Drive-In, Li’l Woody’s, Red Mill and Uneeda Burger. Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "Seattle’s top 4 burger spots — ranked by Seattle Times critics," 10 July 2018 The poll asked nearly 6,700 clinic and hospital physicians about medical errors, workplace safety, and symptoms of workplace burnout, fatigue, depression and suicidal thoughts. Alan Mozes, CBS News, "Doctor burnout behind many medical errors, study finds," 10 July 2018 Shortly after the last polls closed at 8 p.m. in Mexico City, and before any actual results were released, the other candidates began conceding defeat. Patrick J. Mcdonnell, latimes.com, "Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wins Mexico's presidential election in a massive landslide," 2 July 2018 While none of the seven other Democratic candidates received more than 7% support in the poll, Mitchell is one of the candidates considered to be in a position to seriously challenge Evers in the Democratic primary. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mahlon Mitchell to travel state on beer-themed tour as he seeks to catch up to Democratic rival Tony Evers," 2 July 2018 The Congressional race wasn’t officially called until hours after the polls closed. Essence.com, "Primaries Yield Big Electoral Wins For Black Women, Men And People Of Color Nationwide," 28 June 2018 Minutes after the polls closed, and the first returns started trickling in, Joe Crowley knew his two-decade career in Congress was over. David Freedlander, Daily Intelligencer, "Ocasio-Cortez Not Only Beat Crowley — She Beat Old-School New York Politics," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The average person polled had 34 different online accounts. Fox News, "President Trump puts NATO on notice," 12 July 2018 The Democrats are focused on the piece of the ACA that prevents insurers from charging more or refusing to sell health plans to people with preexisting medical conditions — a facet that polls consistently show is popular with the public. Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, "Democrats say Kavanaugh could help end Obamacare, but court likely to deal with narrower issues," 12 July 2018 Analysts polled by FactSet were looking for 2018 revenue of $1.39 billion and Ebitda of $509.4 million. Colin Kellaher And, WSJ, "Cedar Fair Reports Slower-Than-Expected Start to Key Season," 11 July 2018 Founded in 2013 as a vehicle to oppose euro zone bailouts, the AfD was polling at around 3 percent nationally two years ago on the eve of the refugee crisis. Houston Chronicle, "Father-son duo bond as they restore battleship," 3 July 2018 The consensus from industry sources polled by the Free Press recently is that Fulmer will be moved by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers might be wise to trade Michael Fulmer. Here's why," 3 July 2018 The family-separation issue has been polling badly for the White House anyway. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "5 things we learned from Melania Trump's visit to Arizona," 28 June 2018 Instead, weekend series victories against four teams ranked in the USA Today coaches poll -- Georgia (8), Texas Tech (11), Auburn (21), South Carolina (24) – and a mid-week series split with No. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky baseball team misses NCAA Tournament after late-season collapse," 28 May 2018 Readers’ polls are only as interesting as the readers being polled. Peter Rowe, sandiegouniontribune.com, "The best beer in America is... well, it's not from San Diego County," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'poll.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of poll


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for poll


Middle English pol, polle, from Middle Low German

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Dictionary Entries near poll


polka dot

polka mazurka





Statistics for poll

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poll

The first known use of poll was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for poll



English Language Learners Definition of poll

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an activity in which several or many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to get information about what most people think about something

: the record of votes that were made by people in an election

: the number of votes made in an election



English Language Learners Definition of poll (Entry 2 of 2)

: to ask (several or many people) a question or a series of questions in order to get information about what most people think about something

: to receive (a specified number or percentage of votes) in an election


\ˈpōl \

Kids Definition of poll

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the casting or recording of the votes or opinions of a number of persons A poll showed a decrease in student interest.

2 : the place where votes are cast usually used in pl. We go to the polls tomorrow.


polled; polling

Kids Definition of poll (Entry 2 of 2)

: to question in order to get information or opinions about something She polled her classmates on their study habits.


\ˈpōl \

Medical Definition of poll 

(Entry 1 of 3)

: the head or a part of it especially : the region between the ears of some quadrupeds (as a horse)

Medical Definition of poll (Entry 2 of 3)

: to cut off or cut short the horns of (cattle)



Medical Definition of poll (Entry 3 of 3)

: having no horns

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