co·​los·​sal kə-ˈlä-səl How to pronounce colossal (audio)
: of, relating to, or resembling a colossus
colossal statues
: of a bulk, extent, power, or effect approaching or suggesting the stupendous or incredible
colossal rock formations
colossal stellar explosions
: of an exceptional or astonishing degree
a colossal failure
a colossal bore
colossal ambition
colossally adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for colossal

enormous, immense, huge, vast, gigantic, colossal, mammoth mean exceedingly large.

enormous and immense both suggest an exceeding of all ordinary bounds in size or amount or degree, but enormous often adds an implication of abnormality or monstrousness.

an enormous expense
an immense shopping mall

huge commonly suggests an immensity of bulk or amount.

incurred a huge debt

vast usually suggests immensity of extent.

the vast Russian steppes

gigantic stresses the contrast with the size of others of the same kind.

a gigantic sports stadium

colossal applies especially to a human creation of stupendous or incredible dimensions.

a colossal statue of Lincoln

mammoth suggests both hugeness and ponderousness of bulk.

a mammoth boulder

Example Sentences

a colossal statue of the town's founder
Recent Examples on the Web Lewis is stingy with clues; random flashbacks and flash-forwards continually erode suspense; an obvious red herring has all the subtlety of a great white shark attack; and the big reveal is a colossal bust, with loose ends triggering eye rolls and shaking heads. oregonlive, 16 May 2023 The Associated Press The Cannes Film Festival, which will kick off Tuesday, is such a colossal extravaganza that taking measure of its ups and downs is notoriously difficult. Jake Coyle, USA TODAY, 15 May 2023 The colossal snowpack atop the Sierra Nevada will begin to melt more quickly as soon as this weekend as above-average temperatures persist into next week, according to weather experts. Claire Hao, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Apr. 2023 In the case of our sun, that colossal figure is 384.6 septillion watts per second, or 3.846×1026 watts, which is on the order of a trillion times our current worldwide energy usage. Adam Hadhazy, Popular Mechanics, 7 Mar. 2023 The Cardinals opened a colossal 32-16 gap over the Eels at the intermission. Indy Star Sports, The Indianapolis Star, 2 Mar. 2023 Her tall, slender frame—then as now—belied a colossal voice with almost inconceivable resonance and control. Daniel Cappello, Town & Country, 10 Feb. 2023 Its simple repetition of forms, particularly when catching the light at sunset, has the effect of a colossal artwork. J. David Goodman, New York Times, 5 Jan. 2023 That accelerated the erosion of the mudbricks and the numerous engravings that once adorned the walls next to the Ishtar Gate, a colossal structure that towered over Babylon’s main thoroughfare. Nazih Osseiran, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'colossal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see colossus

First Known Use

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of colossal was in 1664

Dictionary Entries Near colossal

Cite this Entry

“Colossal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


co·​los·​sal kə-ˈläs-əl How to pronounce colossal (audio)
: of, relating to, or resembling a colossus
especially : of very great size
a colossal office building
: extraordinary, exceptional
colossal growth
a colossal failure
colossally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on colossal

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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