Last modified on 3 February 2015, at 14:00



a comma butterfly


From Latin comma, from Ancient Greek κόμμα (kómma), from κόπτω (kóptō, I cut)



comma (plural commas or commata)

  1. Punctuation mark (,) (usually indicating a pause between parts of a sentence or between elements in a list).
  2. (by extension) A diacritical mark used below certain letters in Romanian.
  3. A European and North American butterfly, Polygonia c-album, of the family Nymphalidae.
  4. (music) a difference in the calculation of nearly identical intervals by different ways.
  5. (genetics) A delimiting marker between items in a genetic sequence.
  6. In Ancient Greek rhetoric a comma (κόμμα) is a short clause, something less than a colon, originally denoted by comma marks. In antiquity comma was defined as a combination of words that has no more than eight syllables. This term is later applied to longer phrases, e.g. the Johannine comma.


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comma m (plural commi)

  1. (law) subsection
  2. (music) comma



From the Ancient Greek κόμμα (kómma), from κόπτω (kóptō, I cut).



comma n (genitive commatis); third declension

  1. (in grammar):
    1. a comma (a division, member, or section of a period smaller than a colon)
    2. a comma (a mark of punctuation)
  2. (in verse) a caesura


Third declension neuter.

Number Singular Plural
nominative comma commata
genitive commatis commatum
dative commatī commatibus
accusative comma commata
ablative commate commatibus
vocative comma commata

Usage notesEdit

  • In the works of Cicero and Quintilian, the untransliterated Greek κόμμα (kómma) is used for comma in the grammatical sense of “a division…of a period smaller than a colon”.


  • (comma: division of a period): incīsum (pure Latin)


  • comma in Charlton T. Lewis & Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879
  • comma” on page 348/3 of Félix Gaffiot’s Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette (1934)