colonel

noun
col·​o·​nel | \ ˈkər-nᵊl How to pronounce colonel (audio) \

Definition of colonel

1a : a commissioned officer in the army, air force, or marine corps ranking above a lieutenant colonel and below a brigadier general
2 : a minor titular official of a state especially in southern or midland U.S. used as an honorific title

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Other Words from colonel

colonelcy \ ˈkər-​nᵊl-​sē How to pronounce colonelcy (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

English colonel is pronounced the same as kernel. This seems odd, but there is an explanation. In many languages when a word contains two identical or similar sounds, one of these sounds will often change over a period of time. This kind of change is called dissimilation. So when the Italian word colonello was taken into French, it became coronel; and the word was borrowed by the English from the French in this form. Later the spelling colonel came to be used in order to reflect the Italian origin of the word. But by then the pronunciation with r was well established.

Examples of colonel in a Sentence

He retired as a colonel in the air force.

Recent Examples on the Web

The process has been offloaded onto commanders following a recent Pentagon policy that requires sign-off from colonels in a recruit’s chain of command. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "ICE deported veterans while ‘unaware’ it was required to carefully screen them, report says," 9 June 2019 The process has been offloaded onto commanders following a recent Pentagon policy that requires sign-off from colonels in a recruit’s chain of command. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "ICE deported veterans while ‘unaware’ it was required to carefully screen them, report says," 9 June 2019 However, not all royal colonels get to ride on horseback during Trooping the Color. PEOPLE.com, "Why Doesn't Prince Harry Ride on Horseback During Trooping the Colour Like Prince William?," 8 June 2019 The princess was decked out in her royal colonel garb, riding horseback like a champ. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Princess Anne Looked Like a Total Boss on Horseback at the Trooping the Colour Parade," 8 June 2019 The copilot, Earl Carper of Chicago, flew the ship guided by a full colonel command pilot who was flying as an observer. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "What the Free Press front page looked like as D-Day unfolded," 5 June 2019 The Prius driver, Robert Hassan, was a 76-year-old retired physician and Air Force colonel driving home after playing pinochle with friends, according to his brother. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Seattle man charged in Lake City shootings says he was drunk, doesn’t recall rampage, police say," 31 Mar. 2019 The latest victims near death’s door are 66-year-old Sergei Skripal — a former colonel in Russia’s military intelligence service, then a turncoat helping British agents — and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia. Washington Post, "Spy poisoning is latest in string of suspicious cases in UK," 10 Mar. 2018 Skripal, a 66-year-old former colonel in Russia's GRU military intelligence service, was convicted in 2006 of spying for Britain and imprisoned. Fox News, "Russian spy Sergei Skripal assassination attempt: UK deploys military as Moscow, under suspicion, offers help," 9 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'colonel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of colonel

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for colonel

alteration of coronel, from Middle French, modification of Old Italian colonnello column of soldiers, colonel, diminutive of colonna column, from Latin columna — see column

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Statistics for colonel

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for colonel

The first known use of colonel was in 1548

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More Definitions for colonel

colonel

noun

English Language Learners Definition of colonel

: an officer of high rank in the army, air force, or marines : a military officer who ranks above a major

colonel

noun
col·​o·​nel | \ ˈkər-nᵊl How to pronounce colonel (audio) \

Kids Definition of colonel

: a commissioned officer in the army, air force, or marine corps ranking above a major and below a general

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More from Merriam-Webster on colonel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with colonel

Spanish Central: Translation of colonel

Nglish: Translation of colonel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of colonel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about colonel

Comments on colonel

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