General English

General Science

  • noun a printing sign, ( : ), which shows a break in a string of words or introduces an explanation


  • noun a unit of currency used in Costa Rica and El Salvador


Information & Library Science


  • noun the main part of the large intestine, running from the caecum at the end of the small intestine to the rectum

Origin & History of “colon”

There are two distinct words colon in English. Colon ‘part of the large intestine’ (16th c.) comes via Latin from Greek kólon, which meant ‘food, meat’ as well as ‘large intestine’. Colon the punctuation mark (16th c.) comes via Latin from Greek kōlon, which originally meant literally ‘limb’. It was applied metaphorically (rather like foot) to a ‘unit of verse’, and hence to a ‘clause’ in general, meanings which survive in English as technical terms. From there it was a short step to the main present-day meaning, ‘punctuation mark’.