Definitions

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

  • noun A commissioned rank in the US Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps that is above lieutenant colonel and below brigadier general.
  • noun One who holds this rank or a similar rank in another military organization.
  • noun An honorary nonmilitary title awarded by some states of the United States.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To act as colonel; play the colonel.
  • noun The chief commander of a regiment of troops, whether infantry or cavalry, next in rank below that of a general officer—in the United States army, of a brigadier-general.
  • noun In angling, the name of an artificial salmon-fly

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

  • noun (Mil.) The chief officer of a regiment; an officer ranking next above a lieutenant colonel and next below a brigadier general.

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

  • noun A commissioned officer in the army, air force, or marine corps. In U.S. military, it ranks above a lieutenant colonel and below a brigadier general.

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

  • noun a commissioned military officer in the United States Army or Air Force or Marines who ranks above a lieutenant colonel and below a brigadier general

Etymologies

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

[Alteration of obsolete coronel, from French, from Old Italian colonello, from diminutive of colonna, column of soldiers, from Latin columna, column; see kel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested 1548, from Middle French coronel, from Italian colonnello ("the officer of a small company of soldiers (column) that marched at the head of a regiment"), from compagna colonnella ("little column company"), from Latin columna ("pillar").

Examples

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Comments

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  • According to Wikipedia: The term colonel derives from Latin columnella 'small column'. However, it was never actually a Roman rank. The system of ranks in the Roman military was quite different. As a rank the term arose in the late sixteenth century Italy where it referred to the officer in charge of a column (Italian colonna, plural colonne) or field force. The term is first attested as colonnello, but it is perhaps a truncation of something like capitano colonnello 'captain of the column, the captain designated to command the column'. In this context colonna seems to refer to a force marching in column, rather than to a battle formation — a battle or battlation of pike.

    July 26, 2009

  • It sounds like the American Heritage pronouncer is starting the word with a "p."

    December 11, 2009