commas

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)

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To commas
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature