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two meanings of ‘colon’

March 14, 2015

I’ve always wondered whether it was just a coincidence that the word for the punctuation mark that is two vertically aligned dots signalling a list or quote or significant piece of information to follow is the same as the large intestine. But I was content just to wonder and never did anything to find out. Today, though, in a creative bid to avoid doing any work I finally googled it and solved the mystery. The word colon derives from the Ancient Greek word kolon which means a limb, member or large important chunk. The large intestine is obviously a pretty significant chunk of the digestive system; just so, the part of a sentence announced by a colon is also a significant chunk.

The website where I found this information is called wwword.com – a very good American website devoted to news, views, comments and queries about the English language. I recommend it.

Now I suppose I’ll have to do some work.

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