Definition of comma in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmə/


1A punctuation mark (,) indicating a pause between parts of a sentence or separating items in a list.
Example sentences
  • For one thing, the author has a nasty habit of separating sentences with a comma, when a semi-colon would be far more appropriate.
  • In the realm of punctuation, a comma is used for a brief pause, a semicolon for a more moderate pause, and a period as a full stop.
  • You make punctuation mistakes on a regular basis, particularly by using commas when semi-colons or full stops are required.
2 Music A minute interval or difference of pitch.
Example sentences
  • The source of the comma, is the difference between a human singing voice, and an inanimate object: a monochord.
  • In the simple folk song shown here, a comma to the right of a pattern of notes signifies that a mini-closure should be expressed.
  • Help the congregation to understand the necessity to sing with meaning (take breaths at commas, not at the end of musical lines).
Image of comma
3 (also comma butterfly) A widespread butterfly that has orange and brown wings with ragged edges, and a white comma-shaped mark on the underside of the hindwing.
  • Polygonia c-album, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
Example sentences
  • The comma butterfly is now regularly seen much further north than previously.
  • Trees have been coming into leaf sooner, migrant birds are arriving earlier, frog spawn is being spotted before Christmas, while comma and holly blue butterflies have been sighted as early as March.
  • Adult commas feed from flowers such as dandelions and thistles.


Late 16th century (originally as a term in rhetoric denoting a group of words shorter than a colon; see colon1): via Latin from Greek komma 'piece cut off, short clause', from koptein 'cut'.

Words that rhyme with comma

bomber, momma, prommer

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: comma

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