comma

[kom-uh]
noun
1.
the sign (,), a mark of punctuation used for indicating a division in a sentence, as in setting off a word, phrase, or clause, especially when such a division is accompanied by a slight pause or is to be noted in order to give order to the sequential elements of the sentence. It is also used to separate items in a list, to mark off thousands in numerals, to separate types or levels of information in bibliographic and other data, and, in Europe, as a decimal point.
2.
Classical Prosody.
a.
a fragment or smaller section of a colon.
b.
the part of dactylic hexameter beginning or ending with the caesura.
c.
the caesura itself.
3.
Music. the minute, virtually unheard difference in pitch between two enharmonic tones, as G♯ and A♭.
4.
any of several nymphalid butterflies, as Polygonia comma, having a comma-shaped silver mark on the underside of each hind wing.

Origin:
1520–30; < Late Latin: mark of punctuation, Latin: division of a phrase < Greek kómma piece cut off (referring to the phrase so marked), equivalent to kop- (base of kóptein to strike, chop) + -ma noun suffix denoting result of action (with assimilation of p)

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Collins
World English Dictionary
comma (ˈkɒmə)
 
n
1.  the punctuation mark(,) indicating a slight pause in the spoken sentence and used where there is a listing of items or to separate a nonrestrictive clause or phrase from a main clause
2.  music a minute interval
3.  short for comma butterfly
 
[C16: from Latin, from Greek komma clause, from koptein to cut]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

comma
1586, "short phrase," from L. comma, from Gk. komma "clause in a sentence," lit. "piece which is cut off," from koptein "to cut off," from PIE base *(s)kep- "to cut, split." Like colon, period, a Gk. rhetorical term for part of a sentence which has been transferred to the punctuation mark that identifies
it. Used as such in Eng. as a L. word from 1530; nativized by 1599.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

comma definition


A punctuation mark (,) used to indicate pauses and to separate elements within a sentence. “The forest abounds with oak, elm, and beech trees”; “The bassoon player was born in Roanoke, Virginia, on December 29, 1957.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

Comma definition

project
COMputable MAthematics.
An ESPRIT project at KU Nijmegen.
(1994-11-30)

comma definition

character
"," ASCII character 44. Common names: ITU-T: comma. Rare: ITU-T: cedilla; INTERCAL: tail.
In the C programming language, "," is an operator which evaluates its first argument (which presumably has side-effects) and then returns the value of its second argument. This is useful in "for" statements and macros.
(1995-03-10)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

comma

in music, slight difference in frequency (and therefore pitch) occurring when a note of a scale, say E in the scale of C, is derived according to different systems of tuning. There are two commonly cited commas, the Pythagorean comma and the comma of Didymus, or syntonic comma

Learn more about comma with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The last sentence includes a so-called comma splice: two independent clauses
  joined only by a comma.
So there is an and in the list of items, but it's inside quotes, so you don't
  need that comma to clarify the list.
Dark ferruginous has white comma at end of underwing coverts, unbanded tail.
Everything has to be done with the comma and the full stop.
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