Brob·​ding·​nag·​ian | \ ˌbräb-diŋ-ˈna-gē-ən How to pronounce Brobdingnagian (audio) , -dig-ˈna- \

Definition of Brobdingnagian

: marked by tremendous size

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from Brobdingnagian

Brobdingnagian noun

Brobdingnagian Comes From Gulliver's Travels

In Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels, Brobdingnag is the name of a land that is populated by a race of human giants "as tall as an ordinary spire steeple." In Gulliver's first close-up encounter with the giants, he is attempting to get past a stile of which every step is six feet high when a group of field-workers approach with strides ten yards long and reaping hooks as large as six scythes. Their voices he at first mistakes for thunder. Swift's book fired the imagination of the public and within two years of the 1726 publication of the story, people had begun using Brobdingnagian to refer to anything of unusually large size. (Swift himself had used Brobdingnagian as a noun to refer to the inhabitants of Brobdingnag.)

Examples of Brobdingnagian in a Sentence

a Brobdingnagian billboard stood at the entrance to the theme park

First Known Use of Brobdingnagian

1728, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Brobdingnagian

Brobdingnag, imaginary land of giants in Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Brobdingnagian

Time Traveler for Brobdingnagian

Time Traveler

The first known use of Brobdingnagian was in 1728

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about Brobdingnagian

Statistics for Brobdingnagian

Cite this Entry

“Brobdingnagian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on Brobdingnagian

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for Brobdingnagian

Comments on Brobdingnagian

What made you want to look up Brobdingnagian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!