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

Definition of colossus

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

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 And why is the U.S.—that globe-bestriding colossus with more than 700 overseas bases—so strangely isolated? Dexter Fergie, The New Republic, 24 Mar. 2022 Out, the Australasian touring colossus whose multi-stage, single-day format became the template for alternative rock festivals across a generation, has died at the age of 64. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 7 Apr. 2022 For as long as Johnson’s foul colossus stands tall, HRC might want to consider knocking off a couple points. Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2021 While Canada became the first Western power to sanction Potanin last week, the mining colossus, in which Potanin holds an over one-third stake, has not been sanctioned. John Hyatt, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 To the architects of this colossus, the largest empire in history, each conquest was a moral achievement. The New Yorker, 28 Mar. 2022 Woodside's also diversifying heavily into oil by merging with the petroleum business of Australian natural resource colossus BHP. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 15 Mar. 2022 The Bora concept was born in 1968, shortly after French marque Citroën took control of Maserati, which would be flipped to De Tomaso in 1975, subsequently to Fiat and is now under the aegis of corporate colossus Stellantis. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 14 Mar. 2022 Iger was chief executive of the Burbank entertainment colossus for 15 years before he was replaced by Bob Chapek in February 2020. Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About colossus

Time Traveler for colossus

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near colossus




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for colossus

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Colossus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on colossus

Nglish: Translation of colossus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of colossus for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about colossus


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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