POLL, strictly the head, in men or animals. Skeat connects the word with O. Swed. kolle (initial p and k being interchangeable), and considers a Celtic origin probable; cf. Irish coll, Welsh col, peak, summit. " Poll " is chiefly used in various senses derived from that of a unit in an enumeration of persons or things, e.g. poll-tax (q.v.), or " challenge to the polls " in the case of a jury (q.v.). The most familiar derivative uses are those connected with voting at parliamentary or other elections; thus " to poll " is to vote or to secure a number of votes, and " the poll," the voting, the number of votes cast, or the time during which voting takes place. The verb " to poll " also means to clip or shear the top of anything, hence " polled " of hornless cattle, or " deed-poll " (i.e. a deed with smooth or unindented edges, as distinguished from an " indenture "). A tree which has been " polled," or cut back dose in order to induce it to make short bushy growth, is called a " pollard."
At the university of Cambridge, a " pass " degree is known as a " poll-degree." This is generally explained as from the Greek oi TToXXoi, the many, the common people.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)