Definition of colophon in English:



  • 1A publisher's emblem or imprint, usually on the title page of a book.

    • ‘Old colophons on school books sport two sorts of logo: oblong whorls, rococo scrolls - both in worn morocco.’
    • ‘Baskin redesigned Blake for the Rainbow Press's colophon.’
    • ‘Expect a new banner this week and changes to the colophon.’
    • ‘The jacket also serves as the cover of the book and once that is taken off, what you usually get is a volume bound in plain rexine, with the title, author and publisher's colophon embossed on the spine.’
    • ‘Caxton learned to print in Bruges, using Burgundian styles, texts, and machines, so the earliest English books have a Burgundian feel, most evident in typefaces, layouts, and colophons.’
    • ‘In his long commentary on that adage, Erasmus described the genesis and significance of the anchor and dolphin in the Aldine colophon.’
    caption, inscription, dedication, motto, slogan, device, heading, head, title, wording, subtitle, subheading, rubric
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    1. 1.1historical A statement at the end of a book, typically with a printer's emblem, giving information about its authorship and printing.
      • ‘The names of some of his patrons are known through his colophons, and it is probable that he primarily earned his living by being a teacher in the richer circles, rather than as a scribe.’
      • ‘This page, the colophon, contains the name of the artist, the date of completion, and the name of the person who commissioned the book.’
      • ‘Caxton's prefaces, colophons, and epilogues in particular are self-conscious about authorship, purpose, genre, sources, patronage, medium, and technique.’
      • ‘The provenance is no longer legible in the colophon.’
      • ‘Many books have colophons at the end giving the name of one or more scribes, and sometimes giving the names of patrons.’
      • ‘He is named in the colophon as one of the publishers and Isaac is named on the title page as the printer.’
      • ‘It is hoped that the author's creation will ultimately be wrapped in the appropriate robes of ritual: a stiff hardcover binding with a glossy dust jacket, acid-free paper and perhaps a colophon page.’
      • ‘A note in the colophon material states that this comes from a collaborative text-sound installation.’


Early 17th century (denoting a finishing touch): via late Latin from Greek kolophōn ‘summit or finishing touch’.