poll (v.1) Look up poll at Dictionary.com
"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 indenture (n.)).
poll (v.2) Look up poll at Dictionary.com
"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.
Poll Look up Poll at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, short for Polly. Noted from 1620s as a parrot's name.
pollack (n.) Look up pollack at Dictionary.com
sea fish, c. 1600, pollock, alteration of Scottish podlok, of unknown origin, perhaps from poll (n.) "head." Possibly the alteration is by influence of Pollack "Polish person."
pollard (n.) Look up pollard at Dictionary.com
1540s, "de-horned animal," from poll (v.2) + -ard. In reference to polled trees, from 1610s.
pollen (n.) Look up pollen at Dictionary.com
1760 as a botanical term for the fertilizing element of flowers (from Linnæus, 1751), earlier "fine flour" (1520s), from Latin pollen "mill dust; fine flour," related to polenta "peeled barley," and pulvis (genitive pulveris) "dust," from PIE root *pel- (1) "dust; flour" (cognates: Greek poltos "pap, porridge," Sanskrit pálalam "ground seeds," Lithuanian pelenai, Old Church Slavonic popelu, Russian pépelŭ "ashes").
pollinate (v.) Look up pollinate at Dictionary.com
1873, back formation from pollination, or else from pollin-, stem of Latin pollen (see pollen) + -ate (2). Related: Pollinated; pollinating.
pollination (n.) Look up pollination at Dictionary.com
1872, from older French pollination, noun of action formed 1812 from pollin-, stem of Latin pollen (see pollen). Replaced in Modern French by pollinisation .
polliwog (n.) Look up polliwog at Dictionary.com
"tadpole," mid-15c., polwygle, probably from pol "head" (see poll (n.)) + wiglen "to wiggle" (see wiggle (v.)). Modern spelling is 1830s, replacing earlier polwigge.
pollster (n.) Look up pollster at Dictionary.com
1939, from poll (n.) + -ster.
pollutant (n.) Look up pollutant at Dictionary.com
1888, from pollute + -ant. Related: Pollutants.
pollute (v.) Look up pollute at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "to defile," a back formation from pollution, or else from Latin pollutus, past participle of polluere "to defile, pollute, contaminate." Related: Polluted; polluting. Meaning "make physically foul" is from 1540s; specific sense "contaminate the environment" emerged from late 19c.
polluted (adj.) Look up polluted at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, "rendered impure or unclean," past participle adjective from pollute (v.). Meaning "drunk" is from 1912, American English slang; ecological sense is from 1888.
polluter (n.) Look up polluter at Dictionary.com
1540s, "one who renders unclean or impure," agent noun from pollute (v.). Ecological sense from 1958.
pollution (n.) Look up pollution at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "discharge of semen other than during sex," later, "desecration, defilement" (late 14c.), from Late Latin pollutionem (nominative pollutio) "defilement," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin polluere "to soil, defile, contaminate," from por- "before" + -luere "smear," from PIE root *leu- "dirt; make dirty" (cognates: Latin lutum "mud, mire, clay," lues "filth;" Greek lyma "filth, dirt, disgrace," lymax "rubbish, refuse;" Old Irish loth "mud, dirt;" Lithuanian lutynas "pool, puddle"). Sense of "contamination of the environment" first recorded c. 1860, but not common until c. 1955.
Pollux Look up Pollux at Dictionary.com
twin brother of Castor, name of the beta star of Gemini, 1520s, from Latin, from Greek Polydeukes, literally "very sweet," from polys "much" (see poly-) + deukes "sweet" (see glucose). The contraction of the name in Latin is perhaps via Etruscan [Klein].
Polly Look up Polly at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, a rhyming collateral form of Molly, pet form of Mary.
Pollyanna (n.) Look up Pollyanna at Dictionary.com
"one who finds cause for gladness in the most difficult situations," 1921, a reference to Pollyanna Whittier, child heroine of U.S. novelist Eleanor Hodgman Porter's "Pollyanna" (1913) and "Pollyanna Grows Up" (1915), who was noted for keeping her chin up during disasters.
polo (n.) Look up polo at Dictionary.com
1872, Anglo-Indian polo, from Balti (Tibetan language of the Indus valley) polo "ball," related to Tibetan pulu "ball." An ancient game in south Asia, first played in England at Aldershot, 1871. Water polo is from 1876 (in early versions players sometimes paddled about on barrels or in canoes). Polo shirt (1892) originally was a kind worn by polo players.
polonaise (n.) Look up polonaise at Dictionary.com
1773, "woman's overdress" (from fancied resemblance to Polish costume); 1797, "stately dance," from French (danse) polonaise "a Polish (dance)," fem. of polonais (adj.) "Polish," from Pologne "Poland," from Medieval Latin Polonia "Poland" (see Poland). In the culinary sense, applied to dishes supposed to be cooked in Polish style, attested from 1889.
polonium (n.) Look up polonium at Dictionary.com
radioactive element, 1898, discovered by Marie Curie (nee Skłodowska), 1867-1934, and her husband, and named for her native country, Poland (Modern Latin Polonia). With element-name ending -ium.
poltergeist (n.) Look up poltergeist at Dictionary.com
1838, from German Poltergeist, literally "noisy ghost," from poltern "make noise, rattle" (from PIE root *bhel- (4) "to sound, ring, roar;" source of bellow, bell) + Geist "ghost" (see ghost (n.)). In the native idiom of Northern England, such phenomenon likely would be credited to a boggart.
poltroon (n.) Look up poltroon at Dictionary.com
"A coward; a nidgit; a scoundrel" [Johnson, who spells it poltron], 1520s, from Middle French poultron "rascal, coward" (16c., Modern French poltron), from Italian poltrone "lazy fellow, coward," apparently from *poltro "couch, bed" (compare Milanese polter, Venetian poltrona "couch"), perhaps from a Germanic source (compare Old High German polstar "pillow;" see bolster (n.)). Also see -oon.
poly- Look up poly- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "many, much, multi-, one or more," from Greek poly-, combining form of polys "much" (plural polloi); cognate with Latin plus, from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill," with derivatives referring to multitudinousness or abundance (cognates: Sanskrit purvi "much," prayah "mostly;" Avestan perena-, Old Persian paru "much;" Greek plethos "people, multitude, great number," polys "much, plenty," ploutos "wealth;" Lithuanian pilus "full, abundant;" Old Church Slavonic plunu; Gothic filu "much," Old Norse fjöl-, Old English fela, feola "much, many;" Old English folgian; Old Irish lan, Welsh llawn "full;" Old Irish il, Welsh elu "much"); probably related to root *pele- (2) "to spread."

Properly used in compounds only with words of Greek origin. In chemical names, usually indicating a compound with a large number of atoms or molecules of the same kind (such as polymer).
polyamorous (adj.) Look up polyamorous at Dictionary.com
by 1972, from poly- + amorous. Related: Polyamory.
polyandria (n.) Look up polyandria at Dictionary.com
1751 in botany; 1809 of human relationships, from poly- "many" andr-, stem of aner "man, husband" (see anthropo-) + -ia "condition of." Late Greek polyandria meant "populousness."
polyandrous (adj.) Look up polyandrous at Dictionary.com
1764, in botany, "having numerous stamens," from poly- + stem of aner "man, husband" (see anthropo-). From 1854 of humans, "having more than one husband." Greek polyandros meant "numerous" (of persons), "populous" (of places); polyanor meant "of many husbands."
polyandry (n.) Look up polyandry at Dictionary.com
1767, nativized form of polyandria. Related: Polyandrist.
polycentric (adj.) Look up polycentric at Dictionary.com
1826, from poly- + centric.
polychrome (adj.) Look up polychrome at Dictionary.com
"having many colors," 1816, from French polychrome, from Latinized form of Greek polykhromos "many-colored" (see poly- + chrome). As a noun from 1800. Related: Polychromic; polychromatic; polychromate.
polyclinic (n.) Look up polyclinic at Dictionary.com
"place for treatment of various diseases," 1890, from poly- "many" + clinic.
polydactyl (n.) Look up polydactyl at Dictionary.com
1894, from French polydactyle (adj.) "having more fingers and toes than is usual," from Greek polydaktylos; see poly- + dactyl. As an adjective from 1874. Related: Polydactyly; polydactylism (1868).
polydipsia (n.) Look up polydipsia at Dictionary.com
"excessive thirst," 1650s, from Greek polydipsios "very thirsty," from poly- (see poly-) + dipsa "thirst" + -ia "condition of."
Polydorus Look up Polydorus at Dictionary.com
Priam's youngest son (Homer), from Latin Polydorus, from Greek Polydoros "one who has received many gifts," noun use of adjective meaning "richly endowed," from polys "much, many" (see poly-) + doron "gift" (see date (n.1)).
polyester (n.) Look up polyester at Dictionary.com
1929, formed from polymer + ester. Polyester fiber was discovered 1941.
polyethylene (n.) Look up polyethylene at Dictionary.com
polymer of ethylene, 1862, from French polyéthylène; see poly- + ethylene. Related: Polyethylenic (1860).
polygamous (adj.) Look up polygamous at Dictionary.com
1610s, from polygamy + -ous, or else from Late Greek polygamos "often married." Related: Polygamously.
polygamy (n.) Look up polygamy at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Late Latin polygamia, from Late Greek polygamia "polygamy," from polygamos "often married," from polys "many" + gamos "marriage" (see gamete). Not etymologically restricted to marriage of one man and multiple women (technically polygyny), but often used as if it were. Related: Polygamist.
polygenesis (n.) Look up polygenesis at Dictionary.com
"plurality of origins," 1858, from poly- + -genesis "birth, origin, creation." Related: Polygenetic (1851).
polygenic (adj.) Look up polygenic at Dictionary.com
1823, from poly- + -genic. Used in chemistry from 1873 for "forming two or more compounds" (with hydrogen or another univalent element). Related: Polygenetic.
polygenous (adj.) Look up polygenous at Dictionary.com
"composed of many kinds," 1797; see poly- + genus.
polyglot (adj.) Look up polyglot at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Greek polyglottos "speaking many languages," literally "many-tongued," from polys "many" (see poly-) + glotta, Attic variant of glossa "language," literally "tongue" (see gloss (n.2)). As a noun from 1640s.
polygon (n.) Look up polygon at Dictionary.com
1570s, from Latin polygonum, from Greek polygonon, noun use of neuter of adjective polygonos "many-angled," from polys "many" (see poly-) + -gonos "angled," from gonia "angle" (see -gon). Related: Polygonal.
polygraph (n.) Look up polygraph at Dictionary.com
1794, "mechanical device for making multiple copies of something written or drawn," from Greek polygraphos "writing much," from polys "much" (see poly-) + graphos "writing," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy).

Meaning "instrument for recording several pulsations of the body at the same time" is 1871; first used as a lie detector 1921. Related: Polygraphy (1590s); polygraphic (1771).
polygyny (n.) Look up polygyny at Dictionary.com
1780, "condition of having many wives," from poly- "many" (see poly-) + Greek gyne "woman, wife" (see queen). Related: Polygynous.
polyhedral (adj.) Look up polyhedral at Dictionary.com
1741, from polyhedron + -al (1).
polyhedron (n.) Look up polyhedron at Dictionary.com
1560s, from Latinized form of Greek polyedron, neuter of adjective polyedros "having many bases or sides," from polys "many" (see poly-) + hedra "seat, base, chair, face of a geometric solid," from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit" (see sedentary).
polyhistor (n.) Look up polyhistor at Dictionary.com
"very learned person," 1580s, from Greek polyhistor "very learned," from poly "much, many" (see poly-) + histor "knowing, learned" (see history).
polymath (n.) Look up polymath at Dictionary.com
1620s, from Greek polymathes "having learned much, knowing much," from polys "much" (see poly-) + root of manthanein "to learn" (see mathematic).
polymer (n.) Look up polymer at Dictionary.com
a substance built from a large number of simple molecules of the same kind, 1855, probably from German Polymere (Berzelius, 1830), from Greek polymeres "having many parts," from polys "many" (see poly-) + meros "part" (see merit (n.)).