Definition of colonel
1 a : a commissioned officer in the army, air force, or marine corps ranking above a lieutenant colonel and below a brigadier general b : lieutenant colonel
2 : a minor titular official of a state especially in southern or midland United States —used as an honorific title
colonelcyplay \-nəl-sē\ noun
Examples of colonel in a sentence
He retired as a colonel in the air force.
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.
Origin and Etymology of colonel
alteration of coronel, from Middle French, modification of Old Italian colonnello column of soldiers, colonel, diminutive of colonna column, from Latin columna
First Known Use: 1567
COLONEL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of colonel for English Language Learners
: an officer of high rank in the army, air force, or marines : a military officer who ranks above a major
COLONEL Defined for Kids
Definition of colonel for Students
: a commissioned officer in the army, air force, or marine corps ranking above a major and below a general
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up colonel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).