1540s, "small ball used in voting," also "secret vote taken by ballots," from Italian pallotte, diminutive of palla "ball," for small balls used as counters in secret voting, from a Germanic source (from PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell"). The earliest references are to Venice. By 1776 the sense of the word had been extended to tickets or sheets of paper used in secret voting. Ballot box attested from 1670s; metonymically from 1834 as "system or practice of voting by ballot."
1540s, "to vote by secret method" (such as ballot balls), from ballot (n.). Related: Balloted; balloting.
updated on October 03, 2022
Dictionary entries near ballot