American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Grammar A punctuation mark ( , ) used to indicate a separation of ideas or of elements within the structure of a sentence.
- n. A pause or separation; a caesura.
- n. Any of several butterflies of the genus Polygonia, having wings with brownish coloring and irregularly notched edges.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In ancient Grammar and rhetoric, a group of a few words only; a phrase or short clause, forming part of a colon or longer clause.
- n. In ancient prosody: A fragment or smaller section of a colon; a group of a few words or feet not constituting a complete metrical series.
- n. The part of a dactylic hexameter ending with, or that beginning with, the cesura; also, the cesura itself.
- n. A clause.
- n. In rhetoric, a slight pause between two phrases, clauses, or words.
- n. In musical acoustics: The interval between the octave of a given tone and the tone produced by taking six successive whole steps from the given tone, represented by the ratios , or 531441:524288. Also called the Pythagorean comma, or comma maxima.
- n. The interval between the larger and the smaller whole steps, represented by the ratio , or 81:80. Also called the Didymic or syntonic comma.
- n. In punctuation, a point (,) used to indicate the smallest interruptions in continuity of thought or grammatical construction, the marking of which contributes to clearness.
- n. A spot or mark shaped like such a comma.
- n. In entomology: A butterfly, Grapta comma-album: so named from a comma-shaped white mark on the under side of the wings.
- n. [capitalized] [NL.] A genus of lepidopterous insects.
- n. Punctuation mark (,) (usually indicating a pause between parts of a sentence or between elements in a list).
- n. by extension A diacritical mark used below certain letters in Romanian.
- n. A European and North American butterfly, Polygonia c-album, of the family Nymphalidae.
- n. music a small or very small interval between two enharmonic notes tuned in different ways.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A character or point [,] marking the smallest divisions of a sentence, written or printed.
- n. (Mus.) A small interval (the difference between a major and minor half step), seldom used except by tuners.
- n. a punctuation mark (,) used to indicate the separation of elements within the grammatical structure of a sentence
- n. anglewing butterfly with a comma-shaped mark on the underside of each hind wing
- From Latin comma, from Ancient Greek κόμμα (komma), from κόπτω (koptō, "I cut") (Wiktionary)
- Latin, from Greek komma, piece cut off, short clause, from koptein, to cut. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“(_Grapta interrogationis_); comma (_Vanessa comma_), 153; orange; white (_Aphrodite_), 154; white cabbage (_Pontia oleracea_) 153.”
“But whatever you call the comma, is it right or wrong?”
“But when in doubt, a comma is always tasteful and never out of style -- as long as one uses it correctly.”
“That's usually what we call the comma cloud, where we kind of -- the hook echo.”
“All the interesting punctuation debates I have are internal, as I debate whether or not a comma is necessary in a given spot, or whether two clauses are sufficiently related to be separated by a mere semi-colon.”
“Not a comma is out of place; and the tone — ah! — is lofty, so lofty.”
““The comma is a manifestation of a massive area of disagreement still among the parties,” Havercamp of the Environmental Defense Fund said.”
“A comma is needed after “you see” and “monsey”, which is also misspelled.”
“NL: It depends on the author, but in general, the comma is probably most misused, if for no other reason than its frequency.”
“Another reason I love Valerie: she actually says the word comma in that comment.”
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