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 uninvented edges, as distinguished from an “indenture”). A tree which has been "polled, " or cut back close 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 οι πολλοι, the many, the common people.
POLLACK (Gadus pollachius), a fish of the family Gadidae, abundant on rocky coasts of northern Europe, and extending as far south as the western parts of the Mediterranean, where, however, it is much scarcer and does not attain to the same size as in its real northern home. In Scotland and some parts of Ireland it is called lythe. It is distinguished from other species of the genus Gadus by its long pointed snout, which is twice as long as the eye, with projecting lower jaw, and without a barbel at the chin. The vent is below the anterior half of the first dorsal fin. A black spot above the base of the pectoral fin is another distinguishing mark. Although pollack are well-flavoured fish, and smaller individuals (from 12 to 16 in.) excellent eating, they do not form any considerable article of trade, and are not preserved, the majority being consumed by the captors. Specimens of 12 ℔ are common, but the species is said to attain occasionally as much as 24 ℔ in weight, (See also Coalfish.)
POLLAIUOLO, the popular name of the brothers Antonio and Piero di Jacobo Benci, Florentines who contributed much to Italian art in the 15th century. They were called Pollaiuolo because their father was a poulterer. The nickname was also extended to Simone, the nephew of Antonio.
Antonio (1429–1498) distinguished himself as a sculptor, jeweller, painter and engraver, and did valuable service in perfecting the art of enamelling. His painting exhibits an excess of brutality, of which the characteristics can be studied in the “Saint Sebastian,” painted in 1475, and now in the National Gallery, London. A “St Christopher and the Infant Christ” is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. But it was as a sculptor and metal-worker that he achieved his greatest successes. The exact ascription of his works is doubtful, as his brother Piero did much in collaboration with him. The museum of Florence contains the bronze group “Hercules strangling Cacus” and the terra-cotta bust “The Young Warrior”; and in the South Kensington Museum, London, is a bas-relief representing a contest between naked men. In 1489 Antonio took up his residence in Rome, where he executed the tomb of Sixtus IV. (1493), a composition in which he again manifested the quality of exaggeration in the anatomical features of the figures. In 1496 he went to Florence in order to put the finishing touches to the work already begun in the sacristy of Santo Spirito. He died in 1498, having just finished his mausoleum of Innocent VIII., and was buried in the church of San Pietro in Vincula, where a monument was raised to him near that of his brother.
Piero (1443–1496) was a painter, and his principal works were his “Coronation of the Virgin,” an altar-piece painted in 1483, in the choir of the cathedral at San Gimignano; his “Three Saints,” an altar-piece, and “Prudence” are both at the Ufiizi Gallery.
Simone (1457–1508), nephew of Antonio Pollaiuolo, a celebrated architect, was born in Florence and went to Rome in 1484; there he entered his uncle’s studio and studied architecture. On his return to Florence he was entrusted with the completion of the Strozzi palace begun by Benedetto de Maiano, and the cornice on the façade has earned him lasting fame. His highly coloured accounts of Rome earned for him the nickname of il Cronaca (chronicler). About 1498 he built the church of San Francesco at Monte and the vestibule of the sacristy of Santo Spirito. In collaboration with Guiliano da Sangallo he designed the great hall in the Palazzo Vecchio. He was a close friend and adherent of Savonarola.
POLLAN (Coregonus pollan), the name given to a species of the Salmonoid genus Coregonus (Whitefish) which has been found in the large and deep loughs of Ireland only. A full account of the fish by its first describer, W. Thompson, may be found in his Natural History of Ireland, iv. 168.