• synonyms


[koh-luh n]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural co·lons for 1, co·la [koh-luh] /ˈkoʊ lə/ for 2.
  1. the sign (:) used to mark a major division in a sentence, to indicate that what follows is an elaboration, summation, implication, etc., of what precedes; or to separate groups of numbers referring to different things, as hours from minutes in 5:30; or the members of a ratio or proportion, as in 1 : 2 = 3 : 6.
  2. Classical Prosody. one of the members or sections of a rhythmical period, consisting of a sequence of from two to six feet united under a principal ictus or beat.

Origin of colon1

1580–90; < Latin < Greek kôlon limb, member, clause


[koh-luh n]
noun, plural co·lons, co·la [koh-luh] /ˈkoʊ lə/.
  1. Anatomy. the part of the large intestine extending from the cecum to the rectum.
  2. Zoology. the portion of the digestive tract that is posterior to the stomach or gizzard and extends to the rectum.

Origin of colon2

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek kólon large intestine


[koh-lohn; Spanish kaw-lawn]
noun, plural co·lons, Spanish co·lo·nes [kaw-law-nes] /kɔˈlɔ nɛs/.
  1. the paper monetary unit of El Salvador, equal to 100 centavos. Abbreviation: C.
  2. a cupronickel or steel coin and monetary unit of Costa Rica, equal to 100 centimos.

Origin of colon3

1890–95; < American Spanish, after (Cristobal) Colón (Christopher) Columbus


[koh-lon, kuh-lon]
  1. a colonial farmer or plantation owner, especially in Algeria.

Origin of colon4

1600–10, in sense “husbandmen”; 1955–60 in present sense; < French < Latin colōnus colonist


[koh-lon; Spanish kaw-lawn]
  1. a seaport in Panama at the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for colon

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Both a comma and a colon were used and have been retained in this e-book.

    The Web of the Golden Spider

    Frederick Orin Bartlett

  • I found that the program for the day included a trip to Colon on the Isthmus railroad.

    The Pirate of Panama

    William MacLeod Raine

  • He reached Manila as a State prisoner in the Colon, isolated from all but his jailors.

  • After these words, we have a choice of the comma, the colon, and the full stop.


    Paul Allardyce

  • The substitution of a period or a colon for any other point.


    Paul Allardyce

British Dictionary definitions for colon


  1. plural -lons the punctuation mark :, usually preceding an explanation or an example of what has gone before, a list, or an extended quotation
  2. plural -lons this mark used for certain other purposes, such as expressions of time, as in 2:45 p.m., or when a ratio is given in figures, as in 5:3
  3. plural -la (-lə) (in classical prosody) a part of a rhythmic period with two to six feet and one principal accent or ictus

Word Origin

C16: from Latin, from Greek kōlon limb, hence part of a strophe, clause of a sentence


noun plural -lons or -la (-lə)
  1. the part of the large intestine between the caecum and the rectum

Word Origin

C16: from Latin: large intestine, from Greek kolon


  1. a colonial farmer or plantation owner, esp in a French colony

Word Origin

French: colonist, from Latin colōnus, from colere to till, inhabit


noun plural -lons or -lones (Spanish -ˈlones)
  1. the standard monetary unit of Costa Rica, divided into 100 céntimos
  2. the former standard monetary unit of El Salvador, divided into 100 centavos; replaced by the US dollar in 2001

Word Origin

C19: American Spanish, from Spanish, after Cristóbal Colón Christopher Columbus


  1. a port in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal. Chief Caribbean port. Pop: 157 000 (2005 est)Former name: Aspinwall
  2. Archipiélago de Colón (ˌartʃiˈpjelaɣo ðe) the official name of the Galápagos Islands
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for colon


punctuation mark, 1540s, from Latin colon "part of a poem," from Greek kolon (with a long initial -o-) "part of a verse," literally "limb," from PIE root *(s)kel- "to bend, crooked" (see scalene). Meaning evolved from "independent clause" to punctuation mark that sets it off.


"large intestine," late 14c., from Greek kolon (with a short initial -o-) "large intestine, food, meat," of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

colon in Medicine


n. pl. co•lons
  1. The division of the large intestine extending from the cecum to the rectum.
Related formsco•lonic (kə-lŏnĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

colon in Science


  1. The longest part of the large intestine, extending from the cecum to the rectum. Water and electrolytes are absorbed, solidified, and prepared for elimination as feces in the colon. The colon also contains bacteria that help in the body's absorption of nutrients from digested material.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

colon in Culture


A punctuation mark (:) used to introduce a description, an explanation, or a list. For example, “She would own only one kind of pet: a Siamese cat” and “The little boy announced that he wanted the following for his birthday: two sweaters, a new tent, and three toy cars.”


The middle and longest part of the large intestine. (See digestive system.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.