While writing about military ranks last week, I wondered if the word colony, which I’d touched on briefly the week before, was related to the word column, from whose Italian translation the word colonel comes from.

My mind then thought of other words, like colony and colon: maybe they could be related too. Colony, maybe that comes from the Latin for column, columna, because it originally referred to a garrison town, where a column of soldiers were stationed. That sounds plausible, doesn’t it?

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I’ll be driving to Cologne in the morning, so I may not get much writing done over the weekend.

Cologne of course, is a city in western Germany.

Cologne though, as in cologne with a lower-case C when it’s not at the start of a sentence, is something a man sprays on himself to smell nice.

The reason we use the name for both is pretty straightforward.

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The (Really) True Meaning of “To Decimate”

Has anyone ever told you that you, or most people, use this word incorrectly? It’s possible, because it’s a favourite of misguided pedants.

It’s main use now is to mean to inflict heavy losses, or to almost completely destroy/defeat. It’s usually used in a military sense, as so:

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