Meanings: Colon

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) Look up colon at
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) Look up colon at
“large intestine,” late 14c., from Gk. kolon (with a short initial -o-) “large intestine, food, meat,” of unknown origin.

About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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