co·​los·​sus kə-ˈlä-səs How to pronounce colossus (audio)
plural colossi kə-ˈlä-ˌsī How to pronounce colossus (audio)
: a statue of gigantic size and proportions
: a person or thing of immense size or power

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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 case centered on roughly 100 pages of legal-pad pages from the creation of a classic rock colossus. CBS News, 6 Mar. 2024 But if this colossus can really get there, its stock looks like a bargain. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 4 Mar. 2024 For the worlds of finance and tech, Nvidia is now widely viewed an historic pioneer whose time has come, a colossus bound to dominate the artificial intelligence revolution en route to lifting the productivity and profitability of businesses worldwide to new heights. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 24 Feb. 2024 His loss is these screenwriters’ gain, as the departure of the plastic colossus means one more seat for original work. Vulture, 22 Jan. 2024 For Grainge, Dream Track represented an unusually bold collaboration between a content colossus and a tech superpower, in an effort to determine how to monetize synthetic vocals. John Seabrook, The New Yorker, 29 Jan. 2024 Best Picture Up Oppenheimer The season’s slumbering colossus finally woke up. Vulture, 12 Jan. 2024 The colossus of Fort Worth towers as the world’s largest carrier, measured in fleet size, daily flights, and passengers carried; last year, nearly two hundred million customers filled its seats. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 11 Nov. 2023 Godzilla has towered as a colossus of pop culture for nearly 70 years. Troy Aidan Sambajon, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Dec. 2023

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

Word History


Latin, from Greek kolossos

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near colossus

Cite this Entry

“Colossus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


co·​los·​sus kə-ˈläs-əs How to pronounce colossus (audio)
plural colossi -ˈläs-ˌī How to pronounce colossus (audio)
: a huge statue
: a person or thing of great size or power

from Latin colossus "huge statue, colossus"

More from Merriam-Webster on colossus

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