- The definition of a colonel is a high ranking military officer.
An example of colonel is an individual in the Army who is an officer in rank above a lieutenant colonel but below a brigadier general.
- a military officer ranking above a lieutenant colonel and below a brigadier general, and corresponding to a captain in the navy
- ☆ an honorary, nonmilitary title in some southern or western U.S. states
Origin of colonelearlier coronel ; from French colonel, coronel (-r- by dissimilation) ; from Italian colonello ; from colonna, (military) column ; from Classical Latin columna, column; French and amp; eastern; English spelling, spelled modified after Classical Latin and amp; Italian but older pronunciation kept in eastern; English
- a. A commissioned rank in the US Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps that is above lieutenant colonel and below brigadier general.b. One who holds this rank or a similar rank in another military organization.
- An honorary nonmilitary title awarded by some states of the United States.
Origin of colonelAlteration of obsolete coronel, from French, from Old Italian colonello, from diminutive of colonna, column of soldiers, from Latin columna, column; see kel-2 in Indo-European roots.
- colo′nel·cy, colo′nel·ship′
When used as a title, it is always capitalized.
- Example: Colonel John Doe.
The rank corresponds to pay grade O-6. Abbreviations: Col. and COL.
First attested 1548, from Middle French coronel, from Old Italian colonnello (“the officer of a small company of soldiers (column) that marched at the head of a regiment”), from compagna colonnella (“little column company”), from Latin columna (“pillar”), originally a collateral form of columen, contraction culmen (“a pillar, top, crown, summit”), o-grade form from a Proto-Indo-European *kʷel- (“going around”).