Etymology
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Words related to *kel-

colonel (n.)

"chief commander of a regiment of troops," 1540s, coronell, from French coronel (16c.), modified by dissimilation from Italian colonnella "commander of the column of soldiers at the head of a regiment," from compagna colonella "little column company," from Latin columna "pillar," collateral form of columen "top, summit" (from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill").

The French spelling was reformed late 16c. English spelling was modified 1580s in learned writing to conform with the Italian form (via translations of Italian military manuals), and pronunciations with "r" and "l" coexisted until c. 1650, but the earlier pronunciation prevailed. Spanish and Portuguese coronel, from Italian, show similar evolution by dissimilation and perhaps by influence of corona. Abbreviation col. is attested by 1707.

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colonnade (n.)

in architecture, "a series of columns placed at certain intervals," 1718, from French colonnade, from Italian colonnato, from colonna "column," from Latin columna "pillar," collateral form of columen "top, summit," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill." Also see -ade. Related: Colonnaded.

colophon (n.)

"publisher's inscription at the end of a book," 1774, from Late Latin colophon, from Greek kolophōn "summit, final touch" (from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill"). "In early times the colophon gave the information now given on the title page" [OED].

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.

culminate (v.)

1640s, in astronomy, of a star or planet, "come to or be on the highest point of altitude; come to or be on the meridian," from Late Latin culminatus past participle of culminare "to top, to crown," from Latin culmen (genitive culminis) "top, peak, summit, roof, gable," also used figuratively, a contraction of columen "top, summit" (from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill"). Figurative sense in English of "reach the highest point" is from 1660s. Related: Culminant; culminated; culminating.

culmination (n.)

1630s, in astronomy/astrology, "position of a heavenly body when it is on the meridian," from French culmination, noun of action from past participle stem of Late Latin culminare "to top, to crown," from Latin culmen (genitive culminis) "top, peak, summit, roof, gable," also used figuratively, contraction of columen "top, summit" (from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill"). Figurative sense of "highest point or summit" is from 1650s.

excel (v.)

c. 1400, transitive, "to surpass, be superior to;" early 15c., intransitive, "be remarkable for superiority, surpass others," from Latin excellere "to rise, surpass, be superior, be eminent," from ex "out from" (see ex-) + -cellere "rise high, tower," related to celsus "high, lofty, great," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill." Related: Excelled; excelling.

excellence (n.)

mid-14c., "superiority, greatness, distinction" in anything, from Old French excellence, from Latin excellentia "superiority, excellence," from excellentem (nominative excellens) "towering, distinguished, superior," present participle of excellere "surpass, be superior; to rise, be eminent," from ex "out from" (see ex-) + -cellere "rise high, tower," related to celsus "high, lofty, great," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill." From late 14c. as "mark or trait of superiority, that in which something or someone excels."

excellent (adj.)

"unexcelled, distinguished for superior merit of any kind, of surpassing character or quality, uncommonly valuable for any reason, remarkably good," mid-14c., from Old French excellent "outstanding, excellent," from Latin excellentem (nominative excellens) "towering, prominent, distinguished, superior, surpassing," present participle of excellere "surpass, be superior; to rise, be eminent," from ex "out from" (see ex-) + -cellere "rise high, tower," related to celsus "high, lofty, great," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill." Related: Excellently.

excelsior 

Latin excelsior "higher," comparative of excelsus (adj.) "high, elevated, lofty," past participle of excellere "to rise, surpass, be superior, be eminent," from ex "out from" (see ex-) + -cellere "rise high, tower," related to celsus "high, lofty, great," from PIE root *kel- (2) "to be prominent; hill." Taken 1778 as motto of New York State, where it apparently was mistaken for an adverb. Popularized 1841 as title of a poem by Longfellow. As a trade name for "thin shavings of soft wood used for stuffing cushions, etc.," first recorded 1868, American English.