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See also: Colonel


 Colonel (disambiguation) on Wikipedia

Alternative forms[edit]


First attested 1548, from Middle French coronnel, from Old Italian colonnello (the officer of a small company of soldiers (column) that marched at the head of a regiment), from compagnia colonnella (little column company), from Latin columna (pillar), originally a collateral form of columen, contraction culmen (a pillar, top, crown, summit), o-grade form from a Proto-Indo-European *kelH- (to rise, be elevated, be prominent). See hill, holm.


The anomalous pronunciation is probably a holdover of the pronunciation of the earlier, obsolete form coronel.


colonel (plural colonels)

  1. A commissioned officer in an armed military organization, typically the highest rank before flag officer ranks (generals). It is generally found in armies, air forces or naval infantry (marines).
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter I, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      The colonel and his sponsor made a queer contrast: Greystone long and stringy, with a face that seemed as if a cold wind was eternally playing on it. […] But there was not a more lascivious reprobate and gourmand in all London than this same Greystone.

Usage notes[edit]

  • When used as a title, it is always capitalized.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



colonel (third-person singular simple present colonels, present participle coloneling or colonelling, simple past and past participle coloneled or colonelled)

  1. (intransitive) To act as or like a colonel.


Alternative forms[edit]


From Italian colonnello. Compare Middle French coronel, borrowed earlier from the same source. See English colonel for more.



colonel m (plural colonels, feminine colonelle)

  1. a colonel, highest commissioned officer below generals
  2. an ice cream dessert consisting of lemon sherbet and vodka

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

Borrowed from French colonel, from Middle French coronel, which see.


colonel m (plural colonei)

  1. colonel (military officer above lieutenant-colonel and below all generals)

Etymology 2[edit]

Borrowed from German Kolonel.


colonel n (uncountable)

  1. glyph (a letter in a type of font)