from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A vertical structure usually consisting of a base, a cylindrical shaft, and a capital, used as a support or standing alone as a monument.
  • noun Any slender vertical support, as of steel or reinforced concrete.
  • noun Something resembling an architectural column in form or function.
  • noun One of two or more vertical sections of text lying side by side in a document and separated by a rule or a blank space.
  • noun An arrangement of numbers in a single vertical line.
  • noun A feature article that appears regularly in a publication, such as a newspaper.
  • noun A formation, as of troops or vehicles, in which all elements follow one behind the other.
  • noun Botany A columnlike structure, especially one formed by the union of a stamen and the style in an orchid flower, or one formed by the united staminal filaments in flowers such as those of the hibiscus or mallow.
  • noun Anatomy Any of various tubular or pillarlike supporting structures in the body, each generally having a single tissue origin and function.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A short upright line which separates written or printed words or symbols.
  • noun The mast or vertical member of a hoisting apparatus, such as a crane, usually so constructed that no bracing or guys shall be required at the top to resist the bending stresses due to the load.
  • noun A solid body of greater length than thickness, standing upright, and generally serving as a support to something resting on its top; a pillar; more specifically, as an architectural term, a cylindrical or slightly tapering or fusiform body, called a shaft, set vertically on a stylobate, or on a congeries of moldings which forms its base, and surmounted by a spreading mass which forms its capital.
  • noun Anything resembling a column in shape; any body pressing perpendicularly on its base, and throughout of the same or about the same diameter as its base: as, a column of water, air, or mercury.
  • noun In botany, a body formed by the union of filaments with one another, as in Malvaceæ, or of stamens with the style, as in orchids. See cut under androphore.
  • noun In anatomy and zoology, a part or organ likened to a column or pillar; a columna or columella: as, the spinal column; the fleshy columns of the heart.
  • noun In Crinoidea, specifically, the stalk or stem of a crinoid.
  • noun Milit., a formation of troops narrow in front and extended from front to rear: thus distinguished from a line, which is extended in front and thin in depth.
  • noun Nautical, a number of ships following one another.
  • noun In printing, one of the typographical divisions of printed matter in two or more vertical rows of lines.
  • noun Hence The contents of or the matter printed in such a column, especially in a newspaper: as, the columns of the daily press.
  • noun An apparatus used for the fixation of colors upon fabrics by means of steam.
  • noun two symmetrically placed tracts of medium-sized nerve-cells of the spinal cord, laterodorsad of the central canal, confined to the thoracic region.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Arch.) A kind of pillar; a cylindrical or polygonal support for a roof, ceiling, statue, etc., somewhat ornamented, and usually composed of base, shaft, and capital. See order.
  • noun Anything resembling, in form or position, a column in architecture; an upright body or mass; a shaft or obelisk.
  • noun A body of troops formed in ranks, one behind the other; -- contradistinguished from line. Compare Ploy, and Deploy.
  • noun A small army.
  • noun (Naut.) A number of ships so arranged as to follow one another in single or double file or in squadrons; -- in distinction from “line”, where they are side by side.
  • noun (Print.) A perpendicular set of lines, not extending across the page, and separated from other matter by a rule or blank space.
  • noun (Arith.) A perpendicular line of figures.
  • noun (Bot.) The body formed by the union of the stamens in the Mallow family, or of the stamens and pistil in the orchids.
  • noun (Print.) one of a series of articles written in a periodical, usually under the same title and at regular intervals; it may be written and signed by one or more authors, or may appear pseudonymously or anonymously, as an editorial column.
  • noun See under Attach, v. t.
  • noun See under Cluster, v. t.
  • noun a thin strip of brass separating columns of type in the form, and making a line between them in printing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A solid upright structure designed usually to support a larger structure above it, such as a roof or horizontal beam, but sometimes for decoration.
  • noun A vertical line of entries in a table, usually read from top to bottom.
  • noun A body of troops or army vehicles, usually strung out along a road.
  • noun A body of text meant to be read line by line, especially in printed material that has multiple adjacent such on a single page.
  • noun A unit of width, especially of advertisements, in a periodical, equivalent to the width of a usual column of text.
  • noun by extension A recurring feature in a periodical, especially an opinion piece, especially by a single author or small rotating group of authors, or on a single theme.
  • noun Something having similar vertical form or structure to the things mentioned above, such as a spinal column.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (architecture) a tall vertical cylindrical structure standing upright and used to support a structure
  • noun anything that approximates the shape of a column or tower
  • noun a vertical array of numbers or other information
  • noun a line of units following one after another
  • noun a vertical glass tube used in column chromatography; a mixture is poured in the top and washed through a stationary substance where components of the mixture are adsorbed selectively to form colored bands
  • noun a vertical cylindrical structure standing alone and not supporting anything (such as a monument)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English columne, from Latin columna; see kel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English columne ("column (of a page)"), which from Latin columna ("a column, pillar, post"), originally a collateral form of columen, contraction culmen ("a pillar, top, crown, summit"), o-grade form from a Proto-Indo-European *kʷel- (“going around”). Akin to Latin collis ("a hill"), celsus ("high"), probably to Ancient Greek κολοφών (kolophōn, "top, summit").


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