Col"umn (?), n. [L. columna, fr. columen, culmen, fr. cellere (used only in comp.), akin to E. excel, and prob. to holm. See Holm, and cf. Colonel.] 1. (Arch.) A kind of pillar; a cylindrical or polygonal support for a roof, ceiling, statue, etc., somewhat ornamented, and usually composed of base, shaft, and capital. See Order.

2. Anything resembling, in form or position, a column in architecture; an upright body or mass; a shaft or obelisk; as, a column of air, of water, of mercury, etc.; the Column Vendôme; the spinal column.

3. (Mil.) (a) A body of troops formed in ranks, one behind the other; -- contradistinguished from line. Compare Ploy, and Deploy. (b) A small army.

4. (Naut.) A number of ships so arranged as to follow one another in single or double file or in squadrons; -- in distinction from "line", where they are side by side.

5. (Print.) A perpendicular set of lines, not extending across the page, and separated from other matter by a rule or blank space; as, a column in a newspaper.

6. (Arith.) A perpendicular line of figures.

7. (Bot.) The body formed by the union of the stamens in the Mallow family, or of the stamens and pistil in the orchids.

Attached column. See under Attach, v. t. -- Clustered column. See under Cluster, v. t. -- Column rule, a thin strip of brass separating columns of type in the form, and making a line between them in printing.