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Is there any explination of 'colonel' being pronounced as 'popcorn kernel'? These comments may be specific for my accent, but in reading, the word 'colonel' consists of three sylables, yet when pronouncing it as 'kernel' it is only two. Also, where does the second 'l' disapear to? 09:46, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Are you sure silver eagle works for Navy Captain too? I know their usual insignia to go by is the stripes on their cuffs and epaulets, but I wouldn't rule out their using an eagle too. But a cite would certainly help soothe my doubts. ;) -- JohnOwens 06:19 Mar 27, 2003 (UTC)

I was wondering why we have the German translation in the first line? I checked and found that Oberst redirects to this page, but we don't seem to discuss them, is this a good redirect? fabiform | talk 17:50, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Auctioneers who are auction school graduates have traditionally been referred to as Colonel because at the end of the Civil War, the Colonel of the winning army was called upon to auction off the "spoils of warfare". What civil war is this referring to? --Markhadman 16:26, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't know if this is useful or not, but here's a nice little video explaining the etymology of the word. --Hamsterlopithecus (talk) 12:20, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

In Received Pronunciation the word is pronounced as "kernel" without a rhotic R (/ˈkɜ:nəl/), and the IPA transcription on the page (IPA: /ˈkɜrnəl/) does not seem well as it contains a "r". So maybe it's better if we write both pronunciations? Lgsoltek (talk) 16:46, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Can someone explain how "colonel" is pronounced rather differently than the spelling ? "Curnal" or "curnel" looks English and "good enough" (to me, atleast). But howcome no one pronounces it as it is spelled ? (All other languages aside) (talk) 21:45, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Added. Lovelac7 12:05, 21 June 2008 (UTC)


why is colonel spelled without the letter R? JRS

The title comes from 'commander of a column (of companies) of troops'. So the question is, "why is colonel pronounced with an R?" Probably just from slurring the word. --wwoods 07:21, 13 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Historically there was an alternative Spanish form coronel. It looks like English took the spelling from one form and the pronunciation from another. -- 15:31, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

I suggest we merged this article with the main article on Colonel. Whatever its name or etymology is in various languages, it's basically still the same grade. And wiki is not a dictionary. Halibutt 04:17, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

I oppose. It is basically the same today, but they have different histories, and deserve separate articles. This article title is as good as, say, Colonel in Russia and Ukraine and Belarus. mikka (t) 04:26, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I oppose as well. It was one article before with something like eight different sections on each rank in each country not to mention separate references to such ranks as Oberst. "Colonel" can mean so many things and each can be covered in a highly detailed article. That was the primary reason for spliting the article. -Husnock 05:12, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
These both seem to be good stand-alone articles as they are, of a manageable size. Colonel discusses the Western European tradition and worldwide modern usage, and makes it easy to find the articles about other traditions. Michael Z. 2005-11-14 06:34 Z
While I understand that explaining all kinds of traditions that led to the development of the modern set of comparable military ranks in one article might make it too long, I still believe in Ockham's razor. Why exactly should we have 300+ articles on the same rank of Colonel (one per each country or state language, more or less)? Note that I do not oppose the name of that article, but rather its very existence. Take a look at the article on Corporal to see how the problem can be handled. And the case of Corporal is even more complex as there are much more names in the basic set of languages. As all of these ranks have the same meaning and Wikipedia is not a dictionary, the should be explained in one article. Halibutt 09:02, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Seconded. --Ghirlandajo 18:37, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
They don't have the same meaning. What is common goes here; what is different goes into 300+ or 5000+, wikipedia is not a paper. Anyway, you are exaggerrating. I don't think there will be more than 50 various colonels. mikka (t) 19:25, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Corporal is not a good comparison as the entries on the various ranks are just a few lines. Even with that, though, Corporal is a very good candidate for being split up into separate article. As far as this article, we're not talking about 300 different ranks, I think there's only 5 or 6 on the page. And some of those are lenghy articles in thier own right. Colonel (USA), for instance, has the "meat" to expand into a very lenghty article as does Colonel (UK). Oberst is already a sizeable article and so is the Russian one. MErging all of these into one complex, bulky, confusing article is not the way to go here, I feel. For other examples of articles that have been successfully split, take a look at General, Admiral, Awards and decorations of the United States military, and Nazi party paramilitary ranks. You'll see the system works and allows for expansion into broad articles. -Husnock 15:41, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes all entries should be on the main page.Right now they are already some strange changes like attempts to merge the term from three countries into Russian entry etc.So it would be better to enter it just here. --Molobo 12:08, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

After having more of a look at these articles, I'm reconsidering. Modern Canadian, U.K., and U.S. clearly share a similar heritage, and most modern ranks are very similar. The Western European/Roman tradition is different from the tradition of polkovnyks in old Rus, and possibly the German Oberst, so this article would have more history than corporal, but there is less history material than I originally thought. It's interesting how diverse traditions led to essentially the same post of unit commander. I could easily be convinced that it's best to merge all of these, and if eg, Colonel (USA) keeps growing, then it can still have its place here and a main article link to the big version. This may also be a better way to deal with the strange division of polkovnik, polkovnyk, and pułkownik. Michael Z. 2005-11-21 23:08 Z

Thats a well thought article, but I encourage taking a look at the hsitory to when this article was one big collection of all ranks Colonel. It was very long, very bulky, and had several charts and tables for the various UK and US versions on the same page. This promopted the separation into separate articles. The USA Colonel article is growing at a good pace and will most likley expand greatly over the next few months, espeically when I have time to add to it :-) -Husnock 22:42, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Roman Colonel[edit]

What is all this about Romans and the word colonel? As in:

Ancient uses of the word colonel date back to Roman regiments, where a colonel was the officer in charge of a column of soldiers.

I have read a lot about the Roman military and never come across any such thing. WP:BALLS perhaps? Gaius Cornelius 19:46, 21 December 2005 (UTC).

Origin of "Coronel"[edit]

Articles states in one place that this is from Spanish, and elsewhere that it's from Middle French. Spanish -> Middle French -> Modern English? Clarification and sources would be good. Alai 08:42, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

It's from French (which got it from Italian), not Spanish. See, e.g., Random House 'Word of the Day' and American Heritage Dictionary. I'll take the Spanish reference out. Squib 18 May 2006

Southern Colonel[edit]

In the south it was customary for gentlemen to be refered to as Colonel. This could come from actual military service, training as an auctioneer, legal training, an appointment as aide de camp from the gevernor, or as in Kentucky membership in an organization. Would anyone else like to see this information included in the article, or should it be kept to the military rank?

My Theory on Pronunciaton[edit]

I'm too lazy to go out and do any real research, but my guess as to why the word is pronounced "Kernel" and not "Colonel" is this: "L" and the tapped "R" sound (like in most Romance languages) are very similar sounds. I imagine that the the word was corrupted to "Coronel" (and remains today in Portuguese and Spanish) due to the similarity between the R and L, and that the pronunciation "Kernel" is a combination of a vowel shift and a slur (Cor- to -Ker, and the dropping of the middle "o").

Just my two cents. 00:06, 7 August 2007 (UTC)


There seems to be a contradiction in this article.

The rank of Colonel is one of the oldest in existence, dating as far back as the time of the Roman Empire,

The rank of Colonel is one of the oldest in existence, dating as far back as the time of the Roman Empire, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:08, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

I think you've misquoted the very contradiction I opened up the discussion page to menion... Intro paragraph: "The rank of Colonel is one of the oldest in existence, dating as far back as the time of the Roman Empire" First line of 'History and Origins': "The term colonel derives from Latin columnella 'small column'. However, it was never actually a Roman rank" (talk) 09:07, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Deleted chunk[edit]

I removed the following essay with rather inappropriate language and no references. `'Míkka>t 18:56, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

The Colonel managed his regiment as a sort of pyramid scheme, and he would in turn receive money from another individual for the right to serve as his designated Lieutenant — 'assistant' — in full the Lieutenant Colonel. In fact the Colonel and his Lieutenant Colonel and the (Sergeant) Major were all Captains of their own companies within the regiment and the Lieutenant Colonel and Major and the other Captains were, in effect, all subcontractors or junior partners in a commercial enterprise. They received in return for their investment — the purchase of their office — a more or less regularly paid salary and certain formal and informal benefits — payments from captured towns, the value of captured military gear, etc. These emoluments might at times degenerate into mere looting and pillaging, or in better organized cases into something like a protection racket.
There were also naturally opportunities for other forms of corruption — misappropriation of regimental or company funds, the collection of excessive payments from prospective holders of an office, and unlawful kick-back payments extorted from subordinates. Sovereigns naturally instituted procedures to rein in the more heinous of these activities, especially the falsifying of musters, or claiming non-existent soldiers 'paid men' in order to appropriate their pay (French solde) and allowances 'money allowed for some purpose'.
The funds to pay and maintain the troops of the regiment were provided by the sovereign; the Colonel was responsible for the whole, and his subordinates for the portions passed on to them. If any were thought to have failed in this or to have been otherwise negligent of their military duties, they were subjected to a court-martial 'military court', and, if convicted, were dismissed ("cashiered"), losing their investment, and allowing the sovereign or Colonel as appropriate to resell the office to another holder. Otherwise, the holder could himself sell out when he left the service or moved to higher rank. He thus retrieved his investment, the only pension he could generally expect to receive. To some extent pensions can be seen as quit-claims offered to survivors of an office-holder, or as retainers paid to an office-holder in a decommissioned unit, a man whose services are not needed now but might be needed in the future.
The ownership of offices tended to revert to the national authorities as military systems became better managed and offices in a commercial venture became ranks in a government service. However, in intermediate cases a consideration might still need be paid to the previous holder of a position, or to the government, if the incumbent was killed. This attenuated system is usually called purchase. In the United Kingdom, supporters of the practice said that the country had been ill-served by the professional non-purchase army created by Cromwell and that the country could only be "safe" from political intervention by the army if it were officered by men "with a stake in the country", that is, propertied men who could afford to purchase a commission.

Red links[edit]

(moved from my talk page)

Thanks for your observations. The Colonel page did indeed need much tidying, as it had got very unwieldly through successive edits. I think it is now much easier to read and navigate. I am glad that you agree. You have also removed a chunk of text, which is fine with me (I didn't write it!), though the editor who wrote it may want to respond.

With respect, the question of the two red links which I removed and you have replaced is still very much a live issue. There is a note to editors, which I'm sure you must have seen, asking that redlinks NOT be added to the lists of Colonels-by-country. You will also find much discussion about this on the Talk Page. We could just list the word 'Colonel' followed by the country name for EVERY country on earth! That would be silly. This is why an agreement had been reached that countries only be added to the list if a country-specific article already existed, or was just about to be written. Are you preparing articles about 'Colonel - India' or 'Colonel - Italy'? If not, why do you feel that these two countries should be listed here, as opposed to every other country in the world that has the rank of Colonel in its armed forces? With respect, my editing here was in line with the consensus opinion, and your reverts are at variance with that opinion. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 19:53, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

I beg to disagree that there had been any consensus in this respect. While I am not prepared to write the missing artices in question, I have reasons to believe that "Colonel" for Italy ad India have notable peculiarities. Obviously, this was an opinion of a person, who put these two but not, say, Colonel (France) (btw which also has enough naterial for a separate article, see fr:Colonel). That said, let me to reiterate, red links do no harm and the argument "we could just..." is not valid, since no one did this yet. For example, I see nothing wrong with large numer of red links in Lieutenant Colonel article.
At the same time, it now occurs to me that since this list of colonels is short, a better solution was unnoticed: Category:Military ranks similar to colonel or something like that. It is naturally a subcategpry of category:Military ranks by country. I thought of the title Category:Military ranks equivalent to colonel but rejected it because, first, not all "colonel"s are equivalent, see eg Greek Syntagmatarkhis, second, I'd like to place in this category everything related to "Colonel", because most civilians (which constitute the vast majority of the wikkipedia readers) hardly understad all intricacies, and for navigational purposes a somewhat broader category will IMO be more useful. `'Míkka>t 20:25, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
P.S. I also posted a notice at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Military_history#Military_rank_categories. `'Míkka>t 20:41, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I certainly have no argument, in principal, with any of what you say here, other than the question of whether consensus had been reached; it certainly seemed to me that it had, although that's not something to fall out over! However, if consensus has NOT been reached, then should we have the three in-line (hidden) notes to editors about not adding red links to the lists? I don't know who added those notes, and don't have time to check as I'm about to set out on a car journey that should have started an hour ago... Generally, an excessive number of red links in an article, especially in a list, can be very off-putting to the reader, although I quite agree that we have NOT reached that stage in the Colonel article at present. I like your proposal about a possible category-based solution, and agree it should be thought through to achieve the best possible idea before implementing it. I don't know enough about the suggestion that 'Colonel' warrants an individual article in relation to each of those two nations (India and Italy), but perhaps this discussion will prompt someone with the resources to prepare such articles. Thanks for discussion. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 21:22, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
PS - Thanks for removing the unnecessary material from the "In fiction" list. I meant to do that yesterday when re-organising the whole article, but forgot to go back and do so. Some of them were fairly daft! Timothy Titus Talk To TT 21:26, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Greece, a west-european country?[edit]

I would like to get an explanation on what ground is Greece classified as a west-european country? Has the country miraculously been relocated to another part of the continent? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:15, 31 March 2008 (UTC)


What's the abbreviation?
~ender 2008-08-13 23:03:PM MST

Abbreviated Col.
~ender 2008-11-14 2:03:AM MST —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Australia uses "COL", (i.e. all caps, no full-stop), as does US Army. I'm not aware of anyone using the full-stop.
See United Kingdom and United States military ranks compared and

Cheers, Pdfpdf (talk) 00:51, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Military forces?[edit]

Costa Rica does not have army. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:19, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Colonel as highest ranking officer[edit]

I think that the Luxembourg army has now also a General, which is Gen. Gaston Reinig (see which states that he is a general). He is chief commander of the Luxembourg army since 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:41, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

File:Col. Karremans.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Singapore[edit] has a quasi officer rank system with the rank ME7 equivalent to Colonel.Other dictionaries are better (talk) 19:20, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Colonel as highest ranking officer - Libya[edit]

Can anyone gather if this is still the case? And while I do not doubt that Colonel was indeed the highest rank in the Libyan military at least until this year, I have also seen many officers referred to as "General" (i.e. Major General Abdul Fatah Younis or Major General Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr). Is this a matter of formality vs. actuality (that there were de facto generals, but Colonel Gaddafi did not want anyone to outrank him), or does this have to do more with various sources not taking this rank cap into account? Jetpower45 (talk) 21:40, 26 December 2011 (UTC)