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 Martin’s tour covers much of these nuts and bolts, but his focus is on decoding the images for Christian allegories, and there is much to unpack in this colossus., "PLYMOUTH — Here in the hometown of Thanksgiving, where tourists are so eager to gobble up anything Mayflower that they jostle for views of a boulder and leave souvenir shops wearing giant hats adorned with buckles, the Jenney Museum offers two Pilgrim-themed walking tours.," 25 Nov. 2019 And in Alaska, a bush pilot hops in his seaplane to hunt down samples of the colossus, known to some as an enormous 4,000-pound floating head. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, "How a bizarre, monster fish hoodwinked researchers and reeled in a wave of citizen scientists," 22 Feb. 2020 China and its hand-picked 5G corporate colossus, Huawei, are poised to bestride the globe with Huawei’s version of 5G technology. Arthur L. Herman, National Review, "America Needs to Win the Battle for 5G Supremacy," 24 Sep. 2019 Birmingham, a rough mining camp just 90 years earlier, is the colossus: The Census finds 634,864 inhabitants in its metro area. al, "Alabama’s population: 1800 to the modern era," 28 Dec. 2019 Clapton's guitar work was virtuosic, Bruce provided a propulsive bass line, and Baker was widely acknowledged as rock drumming's first colossus, as mesmerizing a showman as any preening lead singer or flamboyant guitarist. cleveland, "Ginger Baker, rock drumming legend of Cream, dies at 80," 6 Oct. 2019 The colossus of a centre back had a brilliant career at Liverpool, achieving absolutely everyth...never mind., "90min's Premier League Hall of Fame: Class of 2017," 30 Oct. 2019 Alibaba has become a technology powerhouse — a sprawling, sector-straddling colossus no less ambitious than Amazon or Alphabet., "Alibaba says Singles Day in China was another hit - The Boston Globe," 12 Nov. 2019 This season, following Kevin Durant’s departure and Klay Thompson’s knee injury during the NBA Finals, the Warriors are no longer the colossus that has blocked the path to the Finals for five consecutive seasons. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "NBA preview: Clippers start title chase with a clean slate," 21 Oct. 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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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

29 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Colossus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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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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