adjective, often capitalized
gar·​gan·​tuan | \ gär-ˈgan(t)-sh(ə-)wən How to pronounce gargantuan (audio) \

Definition of gargantuan

: tremendous in size, volume, or degree : gigantic, colossal gargantuan waterfalls

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Did You Know?

Gargantua is the name of a giant king in François Rabelais's 16th-century satiric novel Gargantua. All of the details of Gargantua's life befit a giant. He rides a colossal mare whose tail switches so violently that it fells the entire forest of Orleans. He has an enormous appetite - in one memorable incident, he inadvertently swallows five pilgrims while eating a salad. The scale of everything connected with Gargantua gave rise to the adjective "gargantuan," which since Shakespeare's time has been used of anything of tremendous size or volume.

Examples of gargantuan in a Sentence

a creature of gargantuan proportions people seem to be buying ever more gargantuan SUVs these days
Recent Examples on the Web But the gargantuan plume currently eking its way across the sky, over the Caribbean and heading toward the United States, is unusual, for a Saharan dust cloud, both in volume and density. Sabrina Imbler, The Atlantic, "Saharan Dust Storms Are Giving Earth Life," 24 June 2020 Koopmann said coordinating and effectively running summer conditioning is a gargantuan challenge. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Friendswood athletic conditioning proceeds amid uncertainly," 22 June 2020 The cost is indeed gargantuan, but so is the cost of deep recessions. The Economist, "Why furlough works Germany spends big to save jobs," 20 June 2020 Glowing red eyes glower from beneath a spiked mask of deep aubergine, a lethal spike slicing up from the snout like a gargantuan Japanese horned beetle. Seija Rankin,, "Get a first look at Ryan La Sala's anticipated sophomore novel, Be Dazzled," 18 June 2020 Publishers currently make gargantuan profits off of this system. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Universities Step Up the Fight for Open-Access Research," 16 June 2020 It will always be remembered as a franchise-defining loss for the Blazers, a gargantuan 48-minute what-if condensed into a painful 12-minute fourth-quarter meltdown. oregonlive, "Devastating defeat: A look back at Portland Trail Blazers’ Game 7 loss to L.A. Lakers, 20 years later," 4 June 2020 This failure to consider the pandemic in regards to protests is especially remarkable given the gargantuan government failure to contain the virus in the first place. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Police violence is creating a terrible coronavirus risk," 4 June 2020 How did the city, not generally known for a nimble response, manage to launch its gargantuan free-food programs in a matter of days? Anne Kadet, WSJ, "New York City Serves Up Food to Fill in the Gaps Amid the Pandemic," 2 June 2020

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

1596, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gargantuan


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Time Traveler for gargantuan

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The first known use of gargantuan was in 1596

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Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gargantuan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for gargantuan


How to pronounce gargantuan (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gargantuan

: very large in size or amount


gar·​gan·​tuan | \ gär-ˈgan-chə-wən How to pronounce gargantuan (audio) \

Kids Definition of gargantuan

: extremely large or great : huge a gargantuan dinosaur

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More from Merriam-Webster on gargantuan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gargantuan

Spanish Central: Translation of gargantuan

Nglish: Translation of gargantuan for Spanish Speakers

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