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Confused Words: Poll vs. Pole


A poll is a way of looking into the public opinion of something by gathering information through votes or interviews. The word can also be used as a verb to describe the act of gathering this information.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is poll used in some example sentences:

  • It is imperative that you go to the polling station and vote in the election.
  • He took a poll to see which members of the group used Apple products.
  • They polled a sample of the public in attempt to predict the outcome.

Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word poll.

A pole is a long rod, usually round and made of wood, metal, or plastic. The word is also used to describe both someone from Poland and magnetic poles (i.e. the North and South Poles).

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is pole used in some example sentences:

  • The holiday was almost ruined because the tent poles went missing.
  • Father Christmas is rumoured to live at the North Pole.
  • While travelling around Europe, she met Italians, Germans, Swedes, and Poles.

Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word pole.

Where does each word come from?

Poll dates back to the early fourteenth century when it meant ‘head’. The first recorded use of the word to mean ‘collection of votes’ (i.e. the number of heads) was in the 1620s.

Pole comes from the late Old English ‘pal’ (meaning ‘stake, pole post’) which was a Germanic borrowing from the Latin ‘palus’ meaning ‘stake’. When talking about the North and South poles, the word comes from the Latin ‘polus’ which in turn comes from the Greek ‘polos’ meaning ‘pivot, axis of a sphere, the sky’.

Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between these words?

Think of the single l in pole as a long pole that reaches above the rest of the word.

Where can I find other posts about easy-to-confuse words?

Sources: The Online Etymology Dictionary.


05 Jun 2017
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