In its figurative sense, pole axed means to be stunned. In its literal sense, no one in his or her right mind would want to be pole axed, because it means to be laid low by a poleaxe, which is a particularly nasty medieval weapon that dates from the 15th century. It derives from the Old English word pol meaning head. Thus a pole axe was originally a head axe, which has somewhat gruesome connotations. Until more humane methods were employed in the 19th century, animals used to be pole axed in abattoirs.