co·​los·​sus | \ kə-ˈlä-səs How to pronounce colossus (audio) \
plural colossi\ kə-​ˈlä-​ˌsī How to pronounce colossi (audio) \

Definition of colossus

1 : a statue of gigantic size and proportions
2 : a person or thing of immense size or power

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Did You Know?

The original colossi (notice the plural form) were the larger-than-life statues made by the Greeks and Romans. The most famous of these was the Colossus of Rhodes, a statue of the sun god Helios built on the Greek island of Rhodes around 280 B.C. that was over 100 feet tall and took more than 12 years to build. The Statue of Liberty is a modern colossus, enormous and stately, at the entrance to New York Harbor. And someone who has played a colossal role in history, such as Winston Churchill, may be called a colossus as well.

Examples of colossus in a Sentence

The building is a colossus of steel and glass. Leonardo da Vinci remains a colossus in the history of art.

Recent Examples on the Web

The cross was Bald Knob Cross of Peace, a colossus more than a hundred feet tall. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "Photo Requests from Solitary Confinement," 8 July 2019 China, with its rapidly expanding middle class, is the up-and-coming colossus of international tourism. Anchorage Daily News, "“Beautiful impression”: Chinese tourism to Alaska is growing fast," 5 July 2019 In July 2003, Howard Dean bestrode the Democratic field like a colossus. Steve Chapman,, "Column: Are Democrats blowing their 2020 chance?," 21 June 2019 If Renault’s Japanese partners, Nissan and Mitsubishi, got on board, the firm would become a colossus making 15m cars a year—almost half as much again as their closest competitors. The Economist, "A merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Renault is no more," 6 June 2019 The apparel colossus had already sent the shoes to retail outlets and had to issue a quick recall. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Colin Kaepernick convinces Nike to halt production of shoe with ‘offensive’ flag," 2 July 2019 Univision once aimed to become a true colossus of English-language digital media, embarking on a strategy that included the acquisition of digital sites and the creation of entirely new properties. Dana Mattioli, WSJ, "Private-Equity Firm Great Hill Partners in Talks to Buy Gizmodo Media Group," 15 Feb. 2019 The regime has held fast to power despite — or because of — the enmity of the colossus to the north. Steve Chapman,, "Trump's new ban on Cuba travel continues our bad neighbor policy in Latin America," 5 June 2019 De Ligt has been a colossus at the back all season, and has scored seven goals in his 55 appearances across all competitions this season, showing maturity and ability far beyond his years., "Liverpool Linked With Ajax Defender Matthijs De Ligt Again as Barcelona Move Continues to Drag," 4 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'colossus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of colossus

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for colossus

Latin, from Greek kolossos

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Statistics for colossus

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for colossus

The first known use of colossus was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of colossus

: a huge statue
: a very large or important person or thing

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something desired as essential

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