- an officer in the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps ranking between lieutenant colonel and brigadier general: corresponding to a captain in the U.S. Navy.
- a commissioned officer of similar rank in the armed forces of some other nations.
- 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.
- Older Use. (in the South) a title of respect prefixed to the name of distinguished elderly men.
Origin of colonel
Examples from the Web for colonel
Those who spoke out against it included a fellow Air Force colonel, Lindsay Graham, who also happens to be a U.S. senator.The Luxury Homes That Torture and Your Tax Dollars Built
December 12, 2014
A judge there would have wide latitude in sentencing and could send the colonel to prison.
An Army National Guard colonel charged with knowingly exposing a woman to HIV faced his accuser in a military courtroom on Monday.
Being called to duty, the colonel was forced to leave the young girl behind.New York’s Scariest Night Out: The Ghosts, Rats, and Lunatics of ‘Nightmare New York’
October 4, 2014
“All this boosts the morale of the Afghan Taliban,” says the colonel.Kabul Airport Attack Comes as Pakistani Fighters Join Afghan Taliban
July 17, 2014
Oh, Colonel, help me to guard against so dreadful a calamity.
"You ought to be able to answer that question better than I," replied the colonel.
"It seems to me a very good arrangement," said the colonel to his wife.
The colonel threw his cloak about his shoulders, and hastened down to the carpenter's.
The doctor, however, went at once into the bedroom, and the colonel followed him.
- an officer of land or air forces junior to a brigadier but senior to a lieutenant colonel
Word Origin and History for colonel
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.