Colonel



[kur-nl] /ˈkɜr nl/

noun
1.
an officer in the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps ranking between and brigadier general: corresponding to a captain in the U.S. Navy.
2.
a commissioned officer of similar rank in the armed forces of some other nations.
3.
an honorary title bestowed by some Southern states, as to those who have brought honor to the state, prominent businesspersons, visiting celebrities, or the like:
When the vice president visited the state he was made a Kentucky colonel.
4.
Older Use. (in the South) a title of respect prefixed to the name of distinguished elderly men.
/ˈkɜːnəl/
noun
1.
an officer of land or air forces junior to a brigadier but senior to a lieutenant colonel
n.

1540s, coronell, from Middle French coronel (16c.), modified by dissimilation from Italian colonnella “commander of a column of soldiers at the head of a regiment,” from compagna colonella “little column company,” from Latin columna “pillar” (see hill). English spelling modified 1580s in learned writing to conform with the Italian form (via translations of Italian military manuals), and pronunciations with “r” and “l” coexisted 17c.-18c., but the earlier pronunciation prevailed. Spanish coronel, from Italian, shows a similar evolution by dissimilation.

Related Terms

chicken colonel, light colonel

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