colonel

play
noun col·o·nel \ˈkər-nəl\

Definition of colonel

  1. 1a :  a commissioned officer in the army, air force, or marine corps ranking above a lieutenant colonel and below a brigadier generalb :  lieutenant colonel

  2. 2 :  a minor titular official of a state especially in southern or midland U.S. —used as an honorific title

colonelcy

play \ˈkər-nəl-sē\ noun

Examples of colonel in a Sentence

  1. He retired as a colonel in the air force.

Recent Examples of colonel from the Web

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.

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 —see column


COLONEL Defined for English Language Learners

colonel

play
noun

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

colonel

play
noun col·o·nel \ˈkər-nəl\

Definition of colonel for Students

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



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