"rod or pole on which a bird alights and rests," late 13c., originally only "a pole, rod, stick, stake," 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." Meaning "a bar fixed horizontally for a hawk or tame bird to rest on" is attested from late 14c.; this led to the general sense of "any thing that any bird alights or rests on" (late 15c.). Figurative sense of "an elevated or secure position" is recorded from 1520s.
"long pole," 1640s, specifically, "long spar run out from a ship" (1660s), from Scottish boun, borrowed from Dutch boom "tree, pole, beam," from a Middle Dutch word analogous to German Baum, English beam (n.). As "movable bar for a microphone or camera," 1931.
also May-pole, "high striped pole decorated with flowers and ribbons for May Day merrymakers to dance around," attested from 1550s but certainly much older, as the first mention of it is in an ordinance banning them, and there are references to such erections, though not by this name, from a mid-14c. Welsh poem. See May Day.
It was usually cut and set up afresh on May-day morning, drawn by a long procession of oxen, decorated, as were also the pole itself and the wagon, with flowers and ribbons; but in some cases a pole once set up was left from year to year, as notably the famous pole of the parish of St. Andrew Undershaft in London, which was cut down in in reign of Edward VI. [Century Dictionary]
"large spar projecting forward from the bow of a ship," late 13c., probably from Middle Low German bochspret, from boch "bow of a ship" (see bow (n.2)) + spret "pole" (compare Old English spreot "pole," Dutch spriet "spear;" see sprit). The variation in early forms (including boltsprit, bolesprit, boresprit) suggests a non-native word. French beaupre is a Dutch loan word.
c. 1300, plural of Middle English galwe "gallows" (mid-13c.), from Old Norse galgi "gallows," or from Old English galga (Mercian), gealga (West Saxon) "gallows;" all from Proto-Germanic *galgon "pole" (source also of Old Frisian galga, Old Saxon galgo, Middle High German galge "gallows, cross," German Galgen "gallows," Gothic galga "cross"), from PIE *ghalgh- "branch, rod" (source also of Lithuanian žalga "pole, perch," Armenian dzalk "pole").
In Old English, also used of the cross of the crucifixion. Plural because made of two poles. Gallows-tree is Old English galg-treow. Gallows humor (1876) translates German Galgenhumor.
"to propel as a punt is usually moved," by pushing with a pole against the bed of the body of water, 1816, from punt (n.2). Related: Punted; punting.
late 14c., antartyk "opposite to the north pole" (adj.), from Old French antartique, from Medieval Latin antarcticus, from Greek antarktikos "opposite the north," from anti- "opposite" (see anti-) + arktikos "arctic" (see arctic).
The first -c- ceased to be pronounced in Medieval Latin and was dropped in Old French. Modern English restores it in spelling from 17c. Also from late 14c. as a noun (with capital A-), "region around the South pole of the sky or the southern regions of the Earth."