late 14c., particuler, "a part or section of a whole, an individual circumstance, feature, or factor; an organ or part of the body," from particular (adj.). Meaning "a single instance or matter" is from 1530s; particulars "small details of statement" is from c. 1600.
1620s, "to take the votes of," from poll (n.) in the extended sense of "individual, person," on the notion of "enumerate one by one." Sense of "receive (a certain number of votes) at the polls" is by 1846. Related: Polled; polling. Polling place is attested by 1832.
early 15c., "marking distinction, difference, or peculiarity," from Old French distinctif and directly from Medieval Latin distinctivus, from Latin distinct-, past-participle stem of distinguere "to separate between, keep separate, mark off" (see distinguish). Meaning "markedly individual" is from 1580s. Related: Distinctively; distinctiveness.
I have adopted this new term with considerable hesitation and doubt, and have only done so under the pressure of necessity. In no other way can I better convey my conviction that there is a traceable correspondence between all manifestations of decline in the individual and in the group to which the individual belongs, which may, like embryology, be used inductively in reasoning upon the probable affinities of animals. [A. Hyatt, paper on "Genetic Relations of Stephanoceras," read June 7, 1876, published in Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History, vol. xviii, 1877]
"one of the individual parts of a corolla of a flower," 1726 (earlier petala, 1704), from Modern Latin petalum "petal" (17c.), from Greek petalon "a leaf; leaf of metal, thin plate," noun use of neuter of adjective petalos "outspread, broad, flat," from PIE root *pete- "to spread." Related: Petaline.