March 2, 2012
There are two clear meanings: a mark of punctuation and an internal body organ that is downstream from the intestines. But is one a metaphor for the other? Not sure I can tell, though they arise from Greek words spelled the same way but pronounced differently:
- colon (1)
- punctuation mark, 1540s, from L. colon “part of a poem,” from Gk. kolon (with a long initial -o-) “part of a verse,” lit. “limb,” from PIE root *(s)kel- “to bend, crooked” (see scalene). Meaning evolved from “independent clause” to punctuation mark that sets it off.
- colon (2)
- “large intestine,” late 14c., from Gk. kolon (with a short initial -o-) “large intestine, food, meat,” of unknown origin.