Etymology
Advertisement
column (n.)

mid-15c., "a pillar, long, cylindrical architectural support," also "vertical division of a page," from Old French colombe (12c., Modern French colonne "column, pillar"), from Latin columna "pillar," collateral form of columen "top, summit," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill."

In the military sense "formation of troops narrow in front and extending back" from 1670s, opposed to a line, which is extended in front and thin in depth. Sense of "matter written for a newspaper" (the contents of a column of type) dates from 1785.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
columnar (adj.)

"having the form of a column; of or pertaining to a column," 1728, from Late Latin columnaris "rising in the form of a pillar," from columna "column" (see column).

Related entries & more 
columnist (n.)

1915, "one who writes serially for publication in a newspaper or magazine," from column in the newspaper sense + -ist.

The successful Columnist puts his own personality into his column. It is not a case of impersonal jesting and the heaping up of cold, blue-lit diamonds of wit. The reader likes the column because it reveals a daily insight into another man's soul—and he finds this other soul likeable. [C.L. Edson, "The Gentle Art of Columning," 1920]
Related entries & more 
fifth column (n.)
1936, from Gen. Emilio Mola's comment at the siege of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War that he would take the city with his four columns of troops outside it and his "fifth column" (quinta columna) in the city.
Related entries & more 
*kel- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be prominent," also "hill."

It forms all or part of: colonel; colonnade; colophon; column; culminate; culmination; excel; excellence; excellent; excelsior; hill; holm.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit kutam "top, skull;" Latin collis "hill," columna "projecting object," cellere "raise;" Greek kolōnos "hill," kolophōn "summit;" Lithuanian kalnas "mountain," kalnelis "hill," kelti "raise;" Old English hyll "hill," Old Norse hallr "stone," Gothic hallus "rock."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
stria (n.)
plural striae, "narrow stripe, groove," 1560s, from Latin stria "a furrow, flute of a column" (see striate).
Related entries & more 
at-bat (n.)
"baseball player's turn at the plate," 1912, originally a column heading in statistics tables, from the prepositional phrase.
Related entries & more 
backbone (n.)
"spine, vertebral column," early 14c., from back (n.) + bone (n.). Figurative sense of "firmness of purpose, strength of character" is by 1843.
Related entries & more 
capital (n.3)
"head of a column or pillar," late 13c., from Anglo-French capitel, Old French chapitel (Modern French chapiteau), or directly from Latin capitellum "head of a column or pillar," literally "little head," diminutive of caput "head" (from PIE root *kaput- "head").
Related entries & more 
necking (n.)

"embracing and caressing a member of the opposite sex," 1825; see neck (v.). In architecture, "moldings near the capital of a column."

Related entries & more