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

Keep scrolling for more

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

As for the travails of today’s economy, much of it has to do with a retreat from the dynamism of the past. ’ But size and newness are not enough on their own, or else Brazil would be an economic colossus. Alan Greenspan, WSJ, "How to Fix the Great American Growth Machine," 12 Oct. 2018 To see a possible way forward, just look at the emerging colossus of China. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Does America Still Need the Nuclear Triad?," 23 Jan. 2019 Ru started out in the late 1990s as a simple email service but has grown to be a colossus of the Russian internet. Stu Woo, WSJ, "Alibaba Teams Up With Russian Tech Giant," 11 Sep. 2018 Further Reading Ars on your lunch break: Repairing your brain with video games This week my guest is Sam Harris: a neuroscientist turned bestselling author turned podcasting colossus. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: Thinking in public and brawling with Batman," 16 Oct. 2018 Yesterday the shipping colossus Maersk installed 100-foot-tall rotors on one of its tankers, the Pelican, according to the Wall Street Journal. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Cargo Ships Are Turning Back to Wind Power—But Don't Expect Big Triangular Sails," 31 Aug. 2018 Last week’s ruling allowed AT&T, a distributor, to purchase Time Warner, a news and entertainment colossus that owns HBO, CNN and the Warner Bros. film studio. Edmund Lee, New York Times, "With Two Suitors for Fox, the Murdochs Consider Next Steps," 18 June 2018 Assuming no appeal by the Department of Justice (DoJ), which brought the lawsuit against the merger, the deal will create a colossus able to sell HBO, CNN and other TV networks over its own wireless and satellite connections. The Economist, "AT&T and Time Warner are cleared to merge," 14 June 2018 In this blissfully stupid and thoroughly irresistible new movie, the artist sometimes known as the Rock goes up against another colossus called the Pearl. Justin Chang,, "Dwayne Johnson scales the heights in the thrillingly dumb 'Skyscraper'," 11 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about colossus

Statistics for colossus

Last Updated

30 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for colossus

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for colossus



English Language Learners Definition of colossus

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on colossus

What made you want to look up colossus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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