See also: Colonel


Alternative formsEdit


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 compagna 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 731476803:
      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 notesEdit

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

Related termsEdit



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 formsEdit


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 termsEdit

Further readingEdit


Etymology 1Edit

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


colonel m (plural colonei)

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


Etymology 2Edit

Borrowed from German Kolonel.


colonel n (uncountable)

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