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a. A commissioned rank in the US Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps that is above lieutenant colonel and below brigadier general.
b. One who holds this rank or a similar rank in another military organization.
2. An honorary nonmilitary title awarded by some states of the United States.
[Alteration of obsolete coronel, from French, from Old Italian colonello, from diminutive of colonna, column of soldiers, from Latin columna, column; see kel- in Indo-European roots.]
colo′nel·cy, colo′nel·ship′ n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.