In Britain the title of an army officer of middle rank. In the USA applied also to officers of the air force and marine corps. ‘Colonel’ is also one of the military titles applied as a civilian honorific in the American South to minor state officials. ‘This American fondness for hollow titles’, writes H.L. Mencken, in The American Language, ‘goes back to colonial days.’ He adds: ‘Colonel is also often bestowed on American newspaper editors by common consent, especially in the South. Thus the rare journalist who declines a colonelcy on the governor’s staff gets it thrust upon him willy-nilly.’ The title is sometimes given as a first name. Daniel Defoe seems to make it such in his Life of Colonel Jack (1722). In William Faulkner’s story Barn Burning there is a boy called Colonel Sartoris Snopes. A retired British army officer with whom the writer once discussed the subject remarked that he had always preferred to be called ‘Colonel’ rather than ‘sir’, the former being ‘more friendly’. Decidedly unfriendly is the use of the term in Compton Mackenzie’s Whisky Galore, where a minister insists on addressing a Captain of the Home Guard as ‘Colonel’.
   If there was one thing Captain Waggett disliked it was being called ‘Colonel’ by Father Macalister. He disliked it so much that he never hesitated to attribute what he considered a breach of good manners to the fact that the priest of Little Todday must have had a drop too much.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • colonel — colonel, elle [ kɔlɔnɛl ] n. • av. 1544 colonnel; it. colonnello, de colonna « colonne d armée » 1 ♦ N. Officier, officière supérieur(e) qui commande un régiment, ou une formation, un service de même importance (⇒fam. 2. colon). Colonel d… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • colonel — COLONEL. sub. mascul. Celui qui commande un Régiment de Cavalerie, d Infanterie, ou de Dragons. Colonel du Régiment des Gardes. Colonel des Suisses. Lieutenant Colonel. f♛/b] On appelle Colonel Général de la Cavalerie, Celui qui commande toute la …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • colonel — COLONEL. s. m. Celuy qui commande un regiment de cavalerie ou d infanterie. Le Roy l a fait Colonel d un tel regiment. Colonel du regiment des gardes. Colonel des Suisses. Lieutenant Colonel, celuy qui commande la compagnie du Colonel & toutes… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Colonel — Colo nel, n. [F. colonel, It. colonello, prop., the chief or commander of a column, fr. colonna column, L. columna. See {Column}.] (Mil.) The chief officer of a regiment; an officer ranking next above a lieutenant colonel and next below a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • colonel — [kʉr′nəl] n. [earlier coronel < Fr colonel, coronel ( r by dissimilation) < It colonello < colonna, (military) column < L columna,COLUMN; Fr & E sp. modified after L & It, but older pronun. kept in E] 1. a military officer ranking… …   English World dictionary

  • Colonel — bezeichnet: den militärischen Rang eines Oberst (aus dem Englischen und Französischen) im französischen Heer bis zur Revolution 1789 die Bezeichnung für den Regimentskommandeur, meist ein Prinz oder eine andere hohe Person als Colonel Major den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • colonel — ► NOUN ▪ a rank of officer in the army and in the US air force, above a lieutenant colonel and below a brigadier or brigadier general. DERIVATIVES colonelcy noun (pl. colonelcies) . ORIGIN from Italian colonnello column of soldiers …   English terms dictionary

  • Colonel — (fr.), 1) so v. w. Oberst; daher C. géneral, bei der französischen Armee Inspecteur einer Waffengattung, meist der Cavallerie; C. lieutenant, Obristlieutenant; 2) Schriftgattung, s. Schrift …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Colonel — (franz., spr. nell), Oberst; C. Lieutenant, bis zur französischen Revolution Kommandeur eines Regiments, dessen Chef, eine hochgestellte Person, das Regiment nicht selbst führte; Lieutenant C., Oberstleutnant; C. Général, ehemals Generaloberst… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Colonel — (frz., spr. néll; engl., spr. körn l), Oberst; auch eine Schriftgattung (s. Kolonel) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Colonel — Colonel, frz., Oberst. – Schriftgattung, um einen Grad größer als Nonpareille, heißt in England Minion, in Frankreich Mignonne …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon