General English


  • noun a body of fluid or solid with a tall, narrow shape


  • noun a section of printed words in a newspaper or magazine


  • noun a series of characters, numbers or lines of text printed one under the other


  • A long, relatively slender, supporting pillar. A column is usually loaded axially in compression.


  • A vertical arrangement or series. For instance, a column of pixels or digits. This contrasts with a row, which is a horizontal arrangement or series.

Information & Library Science

  • noun a vertical section of writing in a book, newspaper or magazine
  • noun a regular section or article in a newspaper or magazine by the same writer or on the same subject

Media Studies

  • noun the arrangement of newspaper copy on a page in a vertical strip.
  • abbreviationcol.


  • noun a tactical formation consisting of several files of soldiers moving forward together one behind the other
  • noun troops or vehicles moving in column formation

Real Estate

  • noun an upright support shaped like a long cylinder

Origin & History of “column”

The notion underlying column is of ‘height, command, extremity’. It comes, via Old French colomne, from Latin columna ‘pillar’, which was probably a derivative of columen, culmen ‘top, summit’ (from which English also gets culminate). It goes back ultimately to a base *kol-, *kel-, distant ancestor of English excel and hill.

The word’s application to vertical sections of printed matter dates from the 15th century, but its transference to that which is written (as in ‘write a weekly newspaper column’) is a 20th-century development.