cy·​clo·​pe·​an | \ ˌsī-klə-ˈpē-ən How to pronounce cyclopean (audio) , sī-ˈklō-pē- How to pronounce cyclopean (audio) \

Definition of cyclopean

1 often capitalized : of, relating to, or characteristic of a Cyclops
2 : huge, massive
3 : of or relating to a style of stone construction marked typically by the use of large irregular blocks without mortar

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The Cyclopes of Greek mythology were huge, crude giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his forehead. Odysseus and his men had a terrible encounter with a Cyclops, and escaped utter disaster only by stabbing a burning stick into the monster's eye. The great stone walls at such ancient sites as Troy and Mycenae are called cyclopean because the stones are so massive and the construction (which uses no cement) is so expert that it was assumed that only a superhuman race such as the Cyclopes could have achieved such a feat.

Examples of cyclopean in a Sentence

a cyclopean granite statue that the dictator himself had commissioned
Recent Examples on the Web Rachmaninoff’s humbling presence, re-encountered, is gigantic, cyclopean. Joseph Horowitz, WSJ, 17 Sep. 2018 Vividly monumental aggregates of cyclopean arches, inverted pyramids, louvered domes, layered patterns and saturated colors—this is not the rigidly principled modernism of Le Corbusier or the inviolate geometry of Louis Kahn. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, 22 Feb. 2017 Of course, the short, goggled and sometimes cyclopean minions are on hand, engaging in a prison food fight and dancing in a cancan-like production number. Innocuous pandemonium ensues in candy colors. Andy Webster, New York Times, 29 June 2017 Iran, Syria, Mali, Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq—in a Cyclopean cellar wrapped in near-total darkness. Ali Arkady, Smithsonian, 2 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cyclopean.' 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 cyclopean

1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of cyclopean was in 1582

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cyclopean concrete

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Cite this Entry

“Cyclopean.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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