"Polish person," 1570s, from Polish Polak "(male) Polish person," related to Polanie "Poles," Polska "Poland," polski "Polish" (see Pole). By 1834 as a term for Polish Jews (distinguished from Litvak). In North American usage, "Polish immigrant, person of Polish descent" (1879) and in that context considered offensive in English. As an adjective from c. 1600.
1550s, "from or found in the regions near the poles of the Earth," from French polaire (16c.) or directly from Medieval Latin polaris "of or pertaining to the poles," from Latin polus "an end of an axis" (see pole (n.2)). By 1816 as "of or pertaining to a pole or poles of a sphere." Meaning "directly opposite in character or tendency" is attested from 1832. Polar bear is attested from 1781.
simple machine consisting of a wheel with a grooved rim for carrying a rope or other line and turning in a frame, used for raising a weight, late 13c., puli, from Old French polie, pulie "pulley, windlass" (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin poliva, puliva, which according to Barnhart and Klein is probably from Medieval Greek *polidia, plural of *polidion "little pivot," diminutive of Greek polos "pivot, axis" (see pole (n.2)). As a verb from 1590s.
kind of lively round-dance which originated in Bohemia, 1844, from French polka, German Polka, probably from Czech polka, the dance, literally "Polish woman" (Polish Polka), fem. of Polak "a Pole" (see Pole). The word might also be an alteration of Czech pulka "half," for the half-steps of Bohemian peasant dances. Or it could be a merger of the two. The dance was in vogue first in Prague, 1835; it reached London by the spring of 1842.
Vous n'en êtes encore qu'au galop, vieil arriéré, et nous en sommes à la polka! Oui, c'est la polka que nous avons dansée à ce fameux bal Valentino. Vous demandez ce que c'est que la polka, homme de l année dernière! La contredanse a vécu; le galop, rococo; la valse à deux temps, dans le troisième dessous; il n'y a plus que la polka, la sublime, l'enivrante polka, dont les salons raffolent, que les femmes de la haute, les banquiéres les plus cossues et les comtesses les plus choenosophoses étudient jour et nuit. ["La France Dramatique," Paris, 1841]
As a verb by 1846 (polk also was tried).
early 13c. (c. 1200 in Anglo-Latin), "stake, pole, stake for vines," from Old French pal and directly from Latin palus "stake, prop, wooden post" (source also of Spanish and Italian palo), which is from PIE *pakslo-, suffixed form of root *pag- "to fasten." A doublet of pole (n.1).
From late 14c. as "fence of pointed stakes." Paler as a surname meaning "fence-builder" is recorded from late 12c. Another Middle English form of the word in the "fence, paling, wall of an enclosure" sense, based on the plural, was pales, palis (late 14c.), and the surname Paliser is attested from early 14c.
The figurative sense of "limit, boundary, restriction" is from c. 1400, and survives (barely) in beyond the pale and similar phrases. Meaning "the part of Ireland under English rule" is by 1540s (the thing itself dates to the conquests of Henry II), via the notion of "enclosed space," hence "district or region within determined bounds," hence "territory held by power of a nation or people" (mid-15c.).
pole used in housebuilding, especially as an object tossed in the Highland games, 1510s, from Gaelic cabar "pole, spar," cognate with Irish cabar "lath," Welsh ceibr "beam, rafter."
"measure of land equal to a square lineal perch" (usually 160 to the acre), late 14c., earlier "land-measuring rod" (c. 1300), from Old French perche "unit of linear measurement" (5.5 yards), also "measuring rod, pole, bar" used to measure this length (13c.), from Latin pertica "pole, long staff, measuring rod," which is related to Oscan perek "pole," Umbrian perkaf "twigs, rods." The same word as perch (n.1).