Meaning of column in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkɒləm/

See synonyms for column

Translate column into Spanish


  • 1An upright pillar, typically cylindrical, supporting an arch, entablature, or other structure or standing alone as a monument.

    ‘a wide entrance portico of eight Ionic columns’
    • ‘the pulpit is hexagonal and stands on seven columns’
    • ‘Inside, the handsome structure with cast iron columns and jack arches was cleaned and repaired.’
    • ‘A coin of Augustus shows what is presumably a square superstructure, with arches on the two faces in view, pilasters or columns, and an entablature but no roof.’
    • ‘Cardboard tubes acting as structural columns support the roof panels around the perimeter.’
    • ‘It is partnered by a stepped gallery running back under the cloister arcade, with round columns beneath those supporting the arches above.’
    • ‘The station's main entrance is characterized by three elegant arches that are supported on huge Ionic columns.’
    • ‘The room was rectangular, and there were murals of columns supporting Gothic arches on the walls within.’
    • ‘Tension gives the thin strips their form and causes them to retain their locations on the cylindrical concrete columns that support the parking slab and roof.’
    • ‘It is supported by wood columns and creates a passageway that lets in fresh air and sunlight but blocks inclement weather.’
    • ‘Mirrors covered the side walls, and there were four columns supporting the structure next to them.’
    • ‘In the Patio de los Leones, over one hundred slender marble columns support ornate arches, shielding the rather chubby marble lions.’
    • ‘In structural terms, long and slender reinforced-concrete columns support the floors in an unobtrusive 8.4m grid.’
    • ‘The stage is oval in plan, behind a proscenium arch, flanked by paired piers and columns that support a parted impediment.’
    • ‘In the centrally focused pantheon of the original bank building, the round dome was supported by interior Ionic columns.’
    • ‘Each pillar has four bronze columns supporting American eagles that hold a victory laurel.’
    • ‘The tower was built of massive columns, great white pillars, supported by beams and buttresses.’
    • ‘But all seem to have porches supported by columns of cobblestone brick, or stucco.’
    • ‘They stood in a hallway with huge stone columns supporting the ceiling over their heads.’
    • ‘The main idea is a big roof supported on only four columns.’
    • ‘Roof overhangs are supported by steel columns also encased in stone.’
    • ‘At this ripe old age, the tree's enormous limbs are supported by steel columns and cables.’
    pillar, post, pole, support, upright, vertical, baluster, pier, pile, piling, pilaster, stanchion, standard, prop, buttress
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    1. 1.1A vertical, roughly cylindrical thing.
      ‘a great column of smoke’
      • ‘The cards are sorted by artist, in configurations of vertical columns, horizontal bands, rectangles and T-shapes.’
      • ‘On the left edge is a thin column of vertical multicolored stripes divided roughly into thirds horizontally.’
      • ‘She turned her head north and saw a column of gray smoke, rising quickly, then blowing away.’
      • ‘She begins with two vertical columns of small squares of pale ocher watercolor laid down dark to light in a grid running four marks across and eight down.’
      • ‘The chill air was calm and utterly still, columns of smoke rising vertically from the city's chimneys, reaching toward the drab overcast.’
      • ‘His cropping of a Maine forest into a grid of vertical pine trunk columns and horizontal branches creates a kind of natural cityscape.’
      • ‘As a result the water welled up, forming a vertical column through the sandstone.’
      • ‘We cannot afford to leave the matter aside until the next column of smoke clouds the horizon and yet more carnage is upon us.’
      • ‘Now you can see the columns of smoke all over the city.’
      • ‘Thick columns of boiling brown smoke are pluming from somewhere among the tower blocks in the centre.’
      • ‘We saw columns of smoke from heavy shells and realised the conflict had taken a turn for the worse.’
      • ‘Throughout the rest of the garden, raised beds with low stone columns at the corners form living tapestries of plants in complementary colors.’
      • ‘The north face incorporates three openings framed by massive stone columns, and the east and west faces each have a single door.’
      • ‘He nodded to himself incessantly as if his spinal column had been magically replaced with a spring.’
      • ‘The car doorframe was damaged and the covering around the steering column had been removed.’
      • ‘Meanwhile the steering column only has height adjustment.’
      • ‘At first sight I saw small columns of smoke coming from the street.’
      • ‘She looked out, seeing the dark columns of smoke in the distance.’
      • ‘Now you can see the columns of smoke all over the city.’
      • ‘A shoal formed by several fish species filled the water column from the coral almost to the surface.’
    2. 1.2An upright shaft for controlling a machine or vehicle.
      ‘a Spitfire control column’
      • ‘The machines are controlled from a column of six isolating switches and two stop buttons.’
      • ‘No more skittish landings because of sluggish control columns.’
      • ‘It was in Newfoundland that he took his first aerial photographs - using his knees to hold the control column and manhandling a large plate camera over the aircraft's side.’
      • ‘Before anyone knew what was what, the device, which was set on cutter, had gone off, making three wavy holes through the edge of the column where the controls had been.’
      • ‘It enables pilots to use the avionics, radar and weapons systems without having to remove their hands from the control column or the throttle.’
      • ‘By keeping my head just above the control column, I could keep my eyes out of the glare and onto the gyrations of the instrument panel's flight indicator.’
      • ‘He takes the control column to save his native clan from all the dangers, to destroy all the enemies himself, and to survive where nobody else could.’
      • ‘Circling just outside the target area, I flew with one hand on the control column and the fingers of the other hand on the landing light switches.’
      • ‘An aileron booster system used the main system hydraulic pressure to supplement the pilot's pressure on the control column.’
      • ‘Flashing down the runway, I gently pull back on my control column.’
      • ‘The control column gathers the quality procedures and the quality records recommended for management review.’
      • ‘The pitch continued to increase despite the forward movement of the control column.’
      • ‘All weapons were manually charged and electrically fired by solenoid units that were activated by the two firing switches located on the pilot's control column.’
      • ‘This rigid, high-strength, shock-resisting material is used for diesel crankshafts, gears and machine columns.’
      • ‘The aircraft is controlled with the aid of a central control column.’
      • ‘The controls on the centre column for the dual-zone climate control, DVD-Audio system, and optional GPS are well laid out and easy to locate at touch.’
  • 2A vertical division of a page or text.

    ‘turn to page five, column seven’
    • ‘detail your expenses in the left-hand column’
    • ‘The editor provided a brief general introduction, a plain text in double columns per page, and a glossary at the end.’
    • ‘One specific comment, though, is that you should change the color of the lettering in the left-hand column on the main page.’
    • ‘In appearance it is very like a modern newspaper, though slightly worse printed, and with only five columns on the page.’
    • ‘The volume ends with a magnificent mass of notes, some ninety-four pages of double columns and smaller print.’
    • ‘Its gray trout page and long vertical columns resemble newspapers of the 1800s.’
    • ‘This list took up two columns on the page, though, and it was only a matter of time before something caught her eye.’
    • ‘As you saw when first examining the layout, there are basic divisions already in the page: Header, columns, and footer.’
    • ‘Actually, it had no pagination, and I could see right away that it was in black letter, two columns to a page.’
    • ‘It is a large volume of about one thousand pages of text in double columns.’
    • ‘Chambers English Dictionary of 1872 included an eight page appendix of Americanisms printed in small type, three columns to a page.’
    • ‘The one difference is that I'm displaying the last few movies I've seen (with ratings) on the front page in the main column.’
    • ‘At the bottom of the right-hand column of this page, I've added links to some fine little organisations who need your help in their brave fight against the forces of darkness.’
    • ‘If you would like to help, please contact me via the e-mail link at the bottom of the left column on my home page.’
    • ‘You'll notice a new map of the US at the top of the right-hand column of this page.’
    • ‘The headline suggests an enormous mouthful to bite off in five columns ' worth of text, but that didn't hold us back in a spring issue 58 years ago.’
    • ‘The right page is occupied by the text (in two columns, with German on the left and French on the right).’
    • ‘On the verso where the poem concludes the page is divided into two columns with this hemistich division.’
    • ‘The subject of most newspaper column inches wasn't even a person.’
    • ‘The first is at the bottom of the right-hand column under the heading " Borrowing by a Limited Partnership".’
    • ‘Weights are listed for each character in the right-hand column of table 1.’
    1. 2.1A vertical arrangement of figures or other information.
      ‘list your strengths and weaknesses in two columns’
      • ‘the typical business report consists of columns and rows of numeric information’
      • ‘The base portions are disposed in a matrix arrangement having rows and columns.’
      • ‘In this case, we should put at the intersections between the rows and columns the figures corresponding to the required initial levels of preceding themes or subjects.’
      • ‘Carefully crafted summary reports, with columns of figures, spreadsheets, and graphs appended at the end, take time to digest and appreciate.’
      • ‘Imagine a square table consisting of 111 columns and 111 rows.’
      • ‘The memory cell may be implemented in an array of cells to perform a method of creating a reverse breakdown condition in an array of memory cells arranged in columns and rows in the array.’
      • ‘A matrix is a rectangular array of symbols, usually numbers, neatly arranged in columns and rows.’
      • ‘She found a piece of paper with a list of names on one column, and a list of figures on the next column.’
      • ‘The third and fourth columns are the corresponding figures for the CLP Budget of 1998 / 99.’
      • ‘In the initial view the times of five trains will be displayed next to each other, with each column listing information about a single train.’
      • ‘You stare at a column of financial figures and your heart sings songs of how woeful it is to be locked up on such a lovely day.’
      • ‘The first column of figures represents the percentage of half days lost through unauthorised absence.’
      • ‘It remains the only significant figure in the debit column of the 17th Commonwealth Games.’
      • ‘Your program uses objects, and those objects are automatically transformed into rows, columns and tables in a relational database.’
      • ‘For each faculty member, the following information was requested with each point of information being a column of a table.’
      • ‘The left column contains information about the visual appearance, or form, of writing produced.’
      • ‘I feel oppressed and confused by neat columns of figures marching down the page or screen, disoriented by colour-coded graphs and the arcane jargon of statistical analysis.’
      • ‘Users are instructed in even the most basic details, such as how to move from one worksheet to another within a workbook, how to select multiple cells, rows or columns, and so on.’
      • ‘If it's not unethical corporate moles and scratching through somebody else's rubbish, it's scratching through long columns of your own figures in the hope of an elusive clue.’
      • ‘Such men found commerce more congenial than industry, and went into the expanding banking sector where the sweat and gore of the factory floor and labour relations were sterilized into columns of figures.’
      • ‘The higher the pixel resolution (the more rows and columns of pixels), the more information can be displayed.’
    2. 2.2A regular section of a newspaper or magazine devoted to a particular subject or written by a particular person.
      ‘he has a weekly column in a Sydney newspaper’
      • ‘I've been reading your column for five years’
      • ‘He has been a sports journalist, writing a regular column for a newspaper and a magazine.’
      • ‘Both rowers write regular newspaper columns and both are frequently contacted by the media for comment on a wide range of topics.’
      • ‘Last year he devoted just three of his weekly syndicated newspaper columns to the subject.’
      • ‘In fact there are very good reasons why unread - or more or less unreadable - art critics continue to write regular columns for reputable newspapers.’
      • ‘Returning to Alaska he wrote a regular column for an Anchorage newspaper and also worked on sculpting.’
      • ‘He writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper.’
      • ‘He also began writing columns in magazines and newspapers, most recently in Metro, a daily newspaper distributed without charge in railway stations and other public places.’
      • ‘Offer to write a weekly advice column in your local paper.’
      • ‘Tracy has also written a syndicated weekly column since March of 1986.’
      • ‘He trained as a singer and wrote a weekly newspaper column on the social scene.’
      • ‘So this week's column is devoted to one of the great men of New Zealand sport.’
      • ‘Our gossip columns are filled not with movie stars, but sporting celebrities.’
      • ‘His syndicated column appears in 150 newspapers in some thirty countries.’
      • ‘His syndicated column appears in newspapers across the country.’
      • ‘So we asked the Martens to share their wisdom, stories and innovations with us through a regular monthly column.’
      • ‘He never thought a silly gossip column in a school paper could be so influential.’
      • ‘Well, it was a pity she didn't run the gossip column.’
      • ‘My thanks to the Dallas Morning News for accepting a guest column on the subject.’
      • ‘Barely had the ink dried on last week's column than the phone rang.’
      • ‘Both gentlemen above also raise another issue that merits airing in today's column.’
      article, piece, piece of writing, item, story, report, account, write-up, feature, essay, composition, study, review, criticism, critique, notice, commentary, editorial, leader
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  • 3One or more lines of people or vehicles moving in the same direction.

    ‘a column of tanks moved north-west’
    • ‘we walked in a column’
    • ‘Knowing she couldn't read it at the moment, she tucked the volume into one of her own saddlebags and spurred her borrowed mount ahead to keep up with the moving column.’
    • ‘An assault jeep quickly zoomed ahead of the rest of the moving column, three gunmen disembarking and running forward.’
    • ‘There are 500 kids within these walls, but it's calm and quiet even when columns of pupils move from one activity to another.’
    • ‘A silent column of peace protesters marched to a York market.’
    • ‘A long column of cars and motorcycles drove through the city, honking horns and waving national flags.’
    • ‘Hurriedly, he moved to the front of the column where Faulkner was walking.’
    • ‘I was led to believe from the news stories that the fighters were not charging into tank columns with bomb belts, but using some intelligent and extremely effective guerilla tactics.’
    • ‘In these conflicts, fast-moving tank columns had performed great feats; the more armour intensive the operation, the more impressive the results had been.’
    • ‘But then again, maybe that's realistic - you just can't fit a column of 10 tanks down the average single-lane dirt road.’
    • ‘And we saw one brave young man defy a column of tanks.’
    • ‘He signaled the tank column, and the accompanying infantry carriers, to stop.’
    • ‘Long columns of vehicles were seen snaking through the moonlit desert towards the border, after repeated salvoes that lit up the horizon with flashes of fire.’
    • ‘It is no strange sight to meet columns of foreign tourist vehicles hugging and tugging through the pass in search of the real Africa.’
    • ‘The ten baggage carts carrying the tents were the only wheeled vehicles in the column.’
    • ‘Soon a small column of figures appears on the horizon, snaking down an embankment in the glittering morning light.’
    • ‘The massed columns of camouflaged vehicles threw up clouds of desert sand as far as the eye could see as they fanned out across the vast featureless landscape.’
    • ‘During a lull in the fighting, some of the Russians tried to wave down a column of armored vehicles using white flags, but they were ignored.’
    • ‘The real question is how on earth they have got so many busy and placid people so utterly disillusioned with the political process that they are marching in columns thousands deep through the streets of the capital.’
    • ‘There's a long column of tanks returning from a day in the capital.’
    line, file, procession, rank, row, string, chain, train, trail, progression, succession, cavalcade, parade, motorcade, carcade, cortège, convoy
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    1. 3.1Military A narrow-fronted deep formation of troops in successive lines.
      ‘a column of 300 to 400 troops’
      • ‘The artillery and mounted horse holders remained in the center of the square between two additional columns of troops advancing on the formation's east and west flanks.’
      • ‘Targets of opportunity, including a column of marching troops, were attacked.’
      • ‘His portrayals always feature them as masses of men, either moving in columns or lying in exhausted heaps.’
      • ‘While settlers routinely carry weapons, they displayed none when the columns of soldiers and police marched into their communities.’
      • ‘Another column of soldiers marched out of the gate, and lined the quay, weapons ready.’
    2. 3.2A military force or convoy of ships.
      ‘Moran had commanded a column in the war’
      • ‘he organized his column for the coming march’
      • ‘Most assaults were directed against U.S. military convoys, columns, or checkpoints.’
      • ‘The RAF attacked the retreating Turkish columns, and helped force the Turks back to the Jordan.’
      • ‘The general commandeered the entire column and Cooper found himself deploying this massive force for action.’
      • ‘About 3,000 soldiers will take part in the review, including nine columns of infantry, two columns of armoured vehicles, helicopters and a military band.’
      • ‘However, the Panzer Regiment destroyed a motorized column and an artillery battery before the French could withdraw.’
      • ‘He then made the unwise decision to divide his force into three columns, he himself commanding one.’
      • ‘As the corps entered Belgium, each division planned to move a covering force in advance of its column to seize key objectives assigned for each day.’
      • ‘A corps column on a single road without its wagon trains could occupy 5 to 10 miles of road and up to 15 miles with its wagon trains.’
      • ‘The US government was determined to force them back on their reservations, and three army columns were dispatched to do this job by 1876.’
      • ‘The Dutch left Yogjakarta and I heard that the general who led out that military column from Yogja died of apoplexy on the way - it was too much for him.’
      • ‘Forming two columns, three mounted platoons of the 26th Cavalry set out for Morong.’
      • ‘This column came into contact with Govt forces at Gutierrez, approx 75 km south of Bogota, and in the ensuing firefights the army lost 37 men.’
      • ‘Each brigade was made up of four small battalions and each battalion was organized into two columns.’
      • ‘The general commanding the advance tank column was persuaded of the need to divert resources to our assistance.’
      • ‘The massive French cavalry charge was met by a storm of English arrows, as a result of which the cavalry fled back through the front columns of the French infantry.’
      • ‘Early yesterday a column of armoured vehicles moved into the outskirts in a manoeuvre designed to draw out rebels and provide fresh targets for the air power and artillery.’
      • ‘We crossed the line of departure at daybreak in formation as a column of platoons.’
      • ‘They were to protect the column against enemy troops at close range who were armed with satchel and pole charges, bazookas and bangalore torpedoes.’
      • ‘He criticised France's reliance on the Maginot Line for defence against Germany and called for the formation of mechanised armoured columns.’
      • ‘The French were handicapped by their lack of artillery and cavalry, which had ensured the success of the column elsewhere.’
      line, file, procession, rank, row, string, chain, train, trail, progression, succession, cavalcade, parade, motorcade, carcade, cortège, convoy
      View synonyms


    dodge the column
    British informal, dated
    • Shirk a duty or responsibility.

      • ‘the rest of us have been able to dodge the column and in some instances not pay National Insurance at all’


Late Middle English partly from Old French columpne, reinforced by its source, Latin columna ‘pillar’.