Inquiry vs Poll - What's the difference?

inquiry | poll |

As a noun inquiry

is the act of inquiring; a seeking of information by asking questions; interrogation; a question or questioning.

As a proper noun poll is

or poll can be .


Alternative forms

* enquiry


  • The act of inquiring; a seeking of information by asking questions; interrogation; a question or questioning.
  • Search for truth, information, or knowledge; examination of facts or principles; research; investigation; as, physical inquiries.
  • Usage notes

    According to Fowler's Modern English Usage'' (1926), ''inquiry'' should be used in relation to a formal inquest, and ''enquiry'' to the act of questioning. Many (though not all) British writers maintain this distinction; the Oxford English Dictionary, in its entry not updated since 1900, lists ''inquiry'' and ''enquiry'' as equal alternatives, in that order. Some British dictionaries, such as ''Chambers 21st Century Dictionary'' [], present the two spellings as interchangeable variants in the general sense, but prefer ''inquiry'' for the "formal inquest" sense. In Australian English, ''inquiry'' represents a formal inquest (such as a government investigation) while ''enquiry'' is used in the act of questioning (eg: the customer enquired about the status of his loan application). Both spellings are current in Canadian English, where ''enquiry'' is often associated with scholarly or intellectual research. (See Pam Peters, ''The Cambridge Guide to English Usage , p. 282.) American English usually uses inquiry .





    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) pol, polle . Meaning "collection of votes" is first recorded 1625, from notion of "counting heads".

    Alternative forms

    * pol, pole


    (en noun)
  • An election or a survey of a particular group of people.
  • The student council had a poll to see what people want served in the cafeteria.
  • * Blackstone
  • All soldiers quartered in place are to remove and not to return till one day after the poll is ended.
  • A number or aggregate of heads; a list or register of individuals, especially electors.
  • * Shakespeare
  • We are the greater poll , and in true fear / They gave us our demands.
  • * Shakespeare
  • The muster file, rotten and sound, upon my life, amounts not to fifteen thousand poll .
  • (usually, as plural) A place where voters cast ballots.
  • The polls close at 8 p.m.
  • Hair
  • * 1883 ,
  • ...the doctor, as if to hear better, had taken off his powdered wig, and sat there, looking very strange indeed with his own close-cropped black poll .
  • The head, especially its top part.
  • * 1908 ,
  • And you might perceive the president and general manager, Mr. R. G. Atterbury, with his priceless polished poll , busy in the main office room dictating letters..
  • The broad or butt end of an axe or a hammer.
  • A fish, the pollard or European chub.
  • Synonyms
    * (election or survey) election, survey * (hair) hair
    Derived terms
    * opinion poll * polling * rolly polly * straw poll * tadpole


    (en verb)
  • To take, record the votes of (an electorate).
  • To solicit mock votes from (a person or group).
  • To vote at an election.
  • (Beaconsfield)
  • To register or deposit, as a vote; to elicit or call forth, as votes or voters.
  • He polled a hundred votes more than his opponent.
  • * Tickell
  • poll for points of faith his trusty vote
  • To cut off; to remove by clipping, shearing, etc.; to mow or crop.
  • to poll''' the hair; to '''poll''' wool; to '''poll grass
  • * Chapman
  • Who, as he polled' off his dart's head, so sure he had decreed / That all the counsels of their war he would ' poll off like it.
  • To cut the hair of (a creature).
  • * Bible, 2 Sam. xiv. 26
  • when he [Absalom] polled his head
  • * Sir T. North
  • His death did so grieve them that they polled themselves; they clipped off their horse and mule's hairs.
  • To remove the horns of (an animal).
  • To remove the top or end of; to clip; to lop.
  • to poll a tree
  • (transitive, computing, communication) To (repeatedly) request the status of something (such as a computer or printer on a network).
  • The network hub polled the department's computers to determine which ones could still respond.
  • (with adverb) To be judged in a poll.
  • * 2008 , Joanne McEvoy, The politics of Northern Ireland (page 171)
  • The election was a resounding defeat for Robert McCartney who polled badly in the six constituencies he contested and even lost his own Assembly seat in North Down.
  • (obsolete) To extort from; to plunder; to strip.
  • * Spenser
  • which polls and pills the poor in piteous wise
  • To impose a tax upon.
  • To pay as one's personal tax.
  • * Dryden
  • the man that polled but twelve pence for his head
  • To enter, as polls or persons, in a list or register; to enroll, especially for purposes of taxation; to enumerate one by one.
  • * Milton
  • polling the reformed churches whether they equalize in number those of his three kingdoms
  • (legal) To cut or shave smooth or even; to cut in a straight line without indentation.
  • a polled deed


  • (of kinds of livestock which typically have horns) Bred without horns, and thus hornless.
  • Poll Hereford
    Red Poll cows
  • * 1757 , The monthly review, or, literary journal , volume 17, page 416:
  • Sheep, that is, the Horned sort, and those without Horns, called Poll Sheep [...]
  • * 1960 , Frank O'Loghlen, Frank H. Johnston, Cattle country: an illustrated survey of the Australian beef cattle industry, a complete directory of the studs , page 85:
  • About 15000 cattle, comprising 10000 Hereford and Poll' Hereford, 4000 Aberdeen Angus and 1000 Shorthorn and ' Poll Shorthorn, are grazed [...]
  • * 1970 , The Pastoral review , volume 80, page 457:
  • Otherwise, both horned and poll sheep continue to be bred from an inner stud.

    Etymology 2

    Perhaps a shortening of (Polly), a common name for pet parrots.


    (en noun)
  • A pet parrot.
  • Etymology 3

    From (etyl)


    (en noun)
  • (UK, dated, Cambridge University) One who does not try for honors at university, but is content to take a degree merely; a passman.
  • See also

    * gentleman's C


    * English heteronyms ----