Aside from being the bottom end of your gastrointestinal tract, and a type of punctuation mark, a colon is also the unit of currency in Costa Rica. 1 colon (C) = 100 centimos.

As of 26th December, 2000, 1 United States Dollar (US$1) is approximately equal to 318 Costa Rica Colon (CRC).

Anatomically, the colon is separated into several parts - in order they are: the caecum, ascending colon, transverse colon and sigmoid colon. The rectum is continuous with the sigmoid colon and the anus is just the end of the rectum that opens out to the outside world.

As a punctuation mark, the colon is most commonly used to introduce a list of parallel phrases. The items in this list are most often separated by commas; however, if they contain commas themselves they are separated by semicolons. A colon may also be used to introduce a bulleted or numbered list.

This is an example of the use of the colon, restating the above:

  • A colon may be used with a list of comma-separated items: a cat, a dog, and a hamster.
  • It may also be used with semicolon-separated items: a cat, who was orange; a dog, who was barking up the wrong tree; and a hamster, who was dancing.
  • It may also be used to introduce a bulleted or numbered list.
There is a laundry detergent in many countries that is called Colon. I've seen it at least in Kenya and in Israel. Maybe it's a world known brand name.

This has always disturbed me a great deal. When I hear the words "colon", and "laundry" together, I do not think "clean". I do not think "punctuation mark" either, for that matter. As Webster 1913 put it:

1. Anat

Much like my old pal Webbie, my first association is of the human anatomy. Colon? I'm not going to wash my laundry in THAT.

Also, in his native Portuguese language, the last name of Christopher Columbus, which some at the time viewed as symbolic of his role as a colonizer of the New World (His actual first name was read as "Christ-bearer".

Nowadays, of course, the word colon can quite frequently mean an extension of the anus.

This is, perhaps, an appropriate title for the man who was the first racist, if by race you mean major groups, in the New World, among other things cutting off the hands of Native Americans and allowing them to bleed to death when they did not work as quickly as Columbus would have liked.

One of those little coincidences that just make one wonder whether whatever God there may be does not have a truly twisted sense of humor.

Co"lon (?), n. [L. colon, colum, limb, member, the largest of the intestines, fr. Gr. , and in sense of the intestine, : cf. F. colon. Cf. Colic.]

1. Anat.

That part of the large intestines which extends from the caecum to the rectum. [See Illust of Digestion.]

2. Gram.

A point or character, formed thus [:], used to separate parts of a sentence that are complete in themselves and nearly independent, often taking the place of a conjunction.


© Webster 1913.

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