October 11, 2013
column (noun)
\KAH-lum\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 a : a printed or written vertical arrangement of items b : one of two or more vertical sections of a printed page separated by a rule or blank space c : a special regular feature in a newspaper or magazine2 : a supporting pillar; especially : one consisting of a usually round shaft, a capital, and a base3 : something resembling a column in form, position, or function
How do you use it?
"In Captain Fitz Roy's excellent account of the earthquake, it is said that two explosions, one like a column of smoke and another like the blowing of a great whale, were seen in the bay." (Charles Darwin, _The Voyage of the Beagle_)
Are you a word wiz?

"Column" comes from the Latin word "columen." What do you think "columen" means?

Answer A is tops with us. "Column" began its journey into English when Middle English speakers formed "columne" after borrowing "columpne" from Anglo-French (the French language used in Medieval England.) "Columpne" traces to the Latin "columna" which in turn stems from "columen" meaning "top." Because of the tall, thin shape of a newspaper article, it also acquired the name "column."
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