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

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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 For more than a year, the two auto makers have been working through the details of the combination, which when completed would create a global auto-making colossus, selling 8.7 million vehicles annually—more than General Motors Co. Nora Naughton, WSJ, "Fiat Chrysler, PSA Aim to Complete Trans-Atlantic Merger in Mid-January," 4 Jan. 2021 The fact that this gentle colossus of Brazilian song released this modest little album — a series of tidy duets with the young clarinetist Sacerdote — to zero fanfare only underscores its humility and elegance. Washington Post, "Best music of 2020: Theo Parrish, Noname, Pop Smoke, Hailey Whitters and more," 8 Dec. 2020 Before the market close on October 13, the banking colossus smashed expectations by announcing $9.4 billion in net income, the second-highest quarterly number in its history. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "How J.P. Morgan is proceeding with extreme caution—and still making plenty of money," 14 Oct. 2020 For much of the last year, the Burbank colossus has faced the biggest challenge of its nearly 100-year history. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, "Disney+ subscribers hit nearly 74 million as COVID-19 brings big losses," 12 Nov. 2020 Plenty of companies have critics, but only a few find themselves under the unblinking glare of a vinyl rodent colossus. Steve Chapman,, "Column: Who’s afraid of Scabby the Rat?," 30 Oct. 2020 For years, Palantir had often been portrayed as a colossus. Michael Steinberger, New York Times, "Does Palantir See Too Much?," 21 Oct. 2020 The 60-foot colossus of Lee became the focal point of protests this summer over racial inequity, triggered in Richmond and across the country by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Washington Post, "Trial to get underway over Northam’s effort to remove Richmond statue of Robert E. Lee," 19 Oct. 2020 The trip was billed as a celebration of the policy change that set in motion Shenzhen's extraordinary transformation from rural backwater to global manufacturing colossus. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "Xi Jinping’s new economic strategy for China: ‘Dual circulation’ or doublespeak?," 15 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for colossus

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for colossus

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Colossus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for colossus


How to pronounce colossus (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of colossus

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

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