Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[kol-uh m] /ˈkɒl əm/
  1. a rigid, relatively slender, upright support, composed of relatively few pieces.
  2. a decorative pillar, most often composed of stone and typically having a cylindrical or polygonal shaft with a capital and usually a base.
any columnlike object, mass, or formation:
a column of smoke.
a vertical row or list:
Add this column of figures.
a vertical arrangement on a page of horizontal lines of type, usually typographically justified:
There are three columns on this page.
a regular feature or series of articles in a newspaper, magazine, or the like, usually having a readily identifiable heading and the byline of the writer or editor, that reports or comments upon a particular field of interest, as politics, theater, or etiquette, or which may contain letters from readers, answers to readers' queries, etc.
a long, narrow formation of troops in which there are more members in line in the direction of movement than at right angles to the direction (distinguished from line).
a formation of ships in single file.
Botany. a columnlike structure in an orchid flower, composed of the united stamens and style.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English columne < Latin columna, equivalent to colum(e)n peak + -a feminine ending; akin to excel; replacing late Middle English colompne < Anglo-French < Latin, as above
Related forms
[kol-uh md] /ˈkɒl əmd/ (Show IPA),
[kol-uh m-ney-tid] /ˈkɒl əmˌneɪ tɪd/ (Show IPA),
1. Column, pillar refer to upright supports in architectural structures. Pillar is the general word: the pillars supporting the roof. A column is a particular kind of pillar, especially one with an identifiable shaft, base, and capital: columns of the Corinthian order. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for columns
  • Now that you have your packages, it's time to make a chart with five columns.
  • By selectively focusing a portion of the view, the columns encourage you to pay closer attention.
  • The red columns that support them are the perfect color to accentuate the blues and grays that predominate in desert plants.
  • Two subtle columns, each slightly taller and wider than the wall, define the courtyard entry.
  • These attract the calcite particles, which build up on the membrane in crisp, geometric columns until they make a shell.
  • The building, whose support columns resemble slender trees that branch out to hold up the ceiling, is still under construction.
  • And the filaments of the penumbra are actually columns of gases.
  • Practically all were of four small pages, each of three or four columns, issued weekly.
  • The one narrow road, a mere muddy track along which the army was encamped, was choked with the marching columns.
  • Another column marched on the direct road and went into camp at the point designated for the two columns to meet.
British Dictionary definitions for columns


an upright post or pillar usually having a cylindrical shaft, a base, and a capital
  1. a form or structure in the shape of a column: a column of air
  2. a monument
a row, line, or file, as of people in a queue
(military) a narrow formation in which individuals or units follow one behind the other
  1. any of two or more vertical sections of type on a printed page, esp on a newspaper page
  2. a regular article or feature in a paper: the fashion column
a vertical array of numbers or mathematical terms
(botany) a long structure in a flower, such as that of an orchid, consisting of the united stamens and style
(anatomy, zoology) any elongated structure, such as a tract of grey matter in the spinal cord or the stalk of a crinoid
Derived Forms
columnar (kəˈlʌmnə) adjective
columned, columnated (ˈkɒləmˌneɪtɪd) adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin columna, from columen top, peak; related to Latin collis hill
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
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Word Origin and History for columns



mid-15c., "vertical division of a page," also "a pillar, post," from Old French colombe (12c., Modern French colonne "column, pillar"), from Latin columna "pillar," collateral form of columen "top, summit," from PIE root *kel- "to project" (see hill). Sense of "matter written for a newspaper" dates from 1785.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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columns in Medicine

column col·umn (kŏl'əm)
Any of various tubular or pillarlike supporting structures in the body, such as the spinal column, each generally having a single tissue origin and function.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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