pole vs. poll

What is the difference between pole and poll?

The words pole and poll are both pronounced /poʊl/.
Pole is most commonly used to refer to a long, slender, rounded shaft, typically made of wood or metal. By extension, pole can function as a verb meaning “to propel, strike, or push with a pole” or “to stir, strike, or poke with a pole.” For example:
  • “As kids, we used to fish in the stream behind our house by tying string to wooden poles we found in our dad’s workshop.”
  • “We watched them pole the small boats along the canal.”
(Pole can also mean “either extremity of an axis that passes through a sphere,” most commonly referring to the northernmost and southernmost points of the Earth. When capitalized, Pole also refers to a person of Polish origin.)
The word poll can similarly function as a noun or a verb describing an action based on the noun. As a noun, it most often means “a sample or collection of the opinions of a group of people regarding a specific question or topic” or “the act of voting or the recording and counting of such votes.” As a verb, it means “to collect opinions from a group of people” or “to receive or record the votes of an election.” For example:
  • “Our latest poll shows that most people care more about a politician’s personal life than his or her political strategy.”
  • “She won by a landslide in the polls.”
  • “We’ve been polling consumers about their spending habits in the mall.”
  • “The candidate, who always polled well in previous elections, suffered a disastrous defeat.”

Spelling Tricks and Tips

A quick tip to remember the difference is that poll has to do with multiple people, so it will be spelled with multiple Ls; a pole refers to a single point, and only has one L in it.
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