Semi- is a Latin prefix meaning "half" and colon is another punctuation. Should I therefore say that semicolon is a halved colon?
closed as general reference by mplungjan, tchrist, Rory Alsop, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, Kristina Lopez Apr 19 '13 at 17:41
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Yes, a semi-colon (;) is half a colon (:) above a comma (,).
You Have a Point There. A Guide to Punctuation and its Allies (PDF) by Eric Partridge says:
The earliest citation in the OED:
I found a 1636 from The principles of musik, in singing and setting by Charles Butler:
It may also appear in Butler's The English grammar: or, The institution of letters, syllables, and words, in the English tongue : whereunto is annexed an index of words like and unlike (1633); Google Books returns it as a result but doesn't show the text and I can't find an online copy.