1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pool

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POOL. (1) A pond, or a small body of still water; also a place in a river or stream where the water is deep and still, so applied in the Thames to that part of the river known as The Pool, which reaches from below London Bridge to Limehouse. The word in Old English was pól, which may be related to pull or pyll, and the similar Celtic words, e.g. Cornish pol, a creek, common on the Bristol Channel and estuary of the Severn, on the English side in the form “pill.” A further connexion has been suggested with Lat. pallus, marsh; Gr. πηλός, mud. (2) A name for the stakes, penalties, &c., in various, card and other games when collected together to be paid out to the winners; also the name of a variety of games of billiards (q.v.). This word has a curious history. It is certainly adapted from Fr. poule, hen, chicken, apparently a slang term for the stakes in a game, possibly, as the New English Dictionary suggests, used as a synonym for plunder, booty. “Chicken-hazard” might be cited as a parallel, though that has been taken to be a corruption of “chequeen,” a form of the Turkish coin, a sequin. When the word came into use in English at the end of the 17th century, it seems to have been at once identified with “pool,” pond, as Fr. fiche (ficher, to fix), a counter, was with “fish,” counters in card games often taking the form of “fish” made of mother-of-pearl, &c. “Pool,” in the sense of a common fund, has been adopted as a commercial term for a combination for the purpose of speculating in stocks and shares, the several owners of securities “pooling” them and placing them under a single control, and sharing all losses and profits. Similarly the name is given to a form of trade combination, especially in railway or shipping companies, by which the receipts or profits are divided on a certain agreed-upon basis, for the purpose of avoiding competition (see Trusts).