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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Gargantua is the name of a giant king in François Rabelais's 16th-century satiric novel Gargantua, the second part of a five-volume series about the giant and his son Pantagruel. 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 William 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 Desperate to pass yet another gargantuan spending bill, President Biden has declared war on a federal agency Vice President Biden regularly praised—the Congressional Budget Office. Karl Rove, WSJ, 15 Dec. 2021 At last, mainstream Hollywood is taking on the gargantuan task of combatting the rampant denial of scientific research and facts. Rebecca Oppenheimer, Scientific American, 30 Dec. 2021 Federal spending now accounts for a gargantuan 30 percent of U.S. GDP, a figure inflated by relief spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ilya Somin, The Week, 27 Dec. 2021 Targeting users for punishment would be a gargantuan and costly task. Jeffrey Conroy-krutz, Quartz, 7 June 2021 Over its opening weekend in theaters, Spider-Man: No Way Home cast its web around the public imagination, selling a record number of tickets for a box-office haul considered gargantuan even by the standards of the pre-N95 era. Chris Lee, Vulture, 20 Dec. 2021 Lofty, maybe even gargantuan, expectations don’t faze Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 9 Sep. 2021 Snyder, a sentimental Brooklynite who also works as Billy Joel’s touring guitar technician, put in winning bids on oil paintings, mirrors, chandeliers, dishes and silverware, deep-cushion banquet chairs, and a gargantuan wooden bar for his business. Michael Ames, The New Yorker, 15 Dec. 2021 Both parties have no problem swiftly moving through a gargantuan military spending bill. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 9 Dec. 2021

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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The first known use of gargantuan was in 1596

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gargantuan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for gargantuan



English Language Learners Definition of gargantuan

: very large in size or amount : gigantic


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

Kids Definition of gargantuan

: extremely large or great : huge a gargantuan dinosaur

More from Merriam-Webster on gargantuan

Nglish: Translation of gargantuan for Spanish Speakers


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