English edit

a comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

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

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

comma (plural commas or (rare) commata or (obsolete) commaes)

    English Wikipedia has an article on:
    (typography) The punctuation mark,used to indicate a set of parts of a sentence or between elements of a list.
    Synonyms: scratch comma, virgule, (in its obsolete form as a slash) virgula, (in its obsolete form as a middot) come, (obsolete) comma-point
    Hyponyms: comma of Didymus, inverted comma, Oxford comma, serial comma, syntonic comma
  2. (Romanian typography) A similar-looking subscript diacritical mark.
  3. (entomology) Any of various nymphalid butterflies of the genus Polygonia, having a comma-shaped white mark on the underwings, especially Polygonia c-album and Polygonia c-aureum of North Africa, Europe, and Asia.
    • 2004, Scott Shalaway, “Close-ups”, in Butterflies in the Backyard, Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, →ISBN, page 18:
      Commas (Polygonia comma) and Question Marks (Polygonia interrogationis) occur from the Gulf Coast to Canada and west to the Rockies. [...] Question Marks and Commas are handsome butterflies with burnt orange and black markings. [...] On the underside of each hind wing of the Comma is a small, distinctive silver hook that resembles a comma.
    • 2013, Ann Simpson, Rob Simpson, “Butterflies and Moths”, in Nature Guide to Shenandoah National Park (Falcon Pocket Guide), Guilford, Conn., Helena, Mont.: Falcon Guides, Globe Pequot Press, →ISBN, page 91:
      Other members of this genus that are frequently encountered in the park are the eastern comma (P. comma) and question mark (P. interrogationis).
  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. (rhetoric) In Ancient Greek rhetoric, a short clause, something less than a colon, originally denoted by comma marks. In antiquity it was defined as a combination of words having no more than eight syllables in all. It was later applied to longer phrases, e.g. the Johannine comma.
  7. (figurative) A brief interval.

Derived terms edit

punctuation mark

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb edit

comma (third-person singular simple present commas, present participle commaing, simple past and past participle commaed)

  1. (rare, transitive) To place a comma or commas within text; to follow, precede, or surround a portion of text with commas.

Translations edit

See also edit


Further reading edit

French edit

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit


  1. third-person singular past historic of commer

Italian edit

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

comma m (plural commi)

  1. (law) subsection, subparagraph
    ll secondo comma dell'articolo 3
    the second subparagraph of article 3
  2. (music) comma

Latin edit

Etymology edit

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

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

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

Usage notes edit

  • 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”.

Declension edit

Third-declension noun (neuter, imparisyllabic non-i-stem).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative comma commata
Genitive commatis commatum
Dative commatī commatibus
Accusative comma commata
Ablative commate commatibus
Vocative comma commata

Synonyms edit

References edit

  • comma”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • comma in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • comma in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette, page 348/3