jug·​ger·​naut ˈjə-gər-ˌnȯt How to pronounce juggernaut (audio)
: a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path
an advertising juggernaut
a political juggernaut
chiefly British : a large heavy truck

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The History of Juggernaut

In the early 14th century, Franciscan missionary Friar Odoric brought to Europe the story of an enormous carriage that carried an image of the Hindu god Vishnu (whose title was Jagannath, literally, "lord of the world") through the streets of India in religious processions. Odoric reported that some worshippers deliberately allowed themselves to be crushed beneath the vehicle's wheels as a sacrifice to Vishnu. That story was likely an exaggeration or misinterpretation of actual events, but it spread throughout Europe. The tale caught the imagination of English listeners, and they began using juggernaut to refer to any massive vehicle (such as a steam locomotive) and to any other enormous entity with powerful crushing capabilities.

Examples of juggernaut in a Sentence

there was no escaping the juggernaut of hype for the studio's biggest summer blockbuster
Recent Examples on the Web China’s leaders used the proceeds of the export juggernaut to buy trillions of dollars of U.S. government bonds, keeping America’s borrowing costs low and allowing its spending bonanza to continue. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, 14 Nov. 2023 If there’s an X-factor in common between contemporary Grammy juggernauts, this just might be it. Nina Corcoran, Pitchfork, 10 Nov. 2023 The show was a ratings juggernaut and picked up a Golden Globe for best television series drama for its inaugural season. Ethan Shanfeld, Variety, 2 Nov. 2023 For its part, Kering is making deals to bolster its position as a luxury juggernaut, including one worth $3.8 billion for perfume label Creed in July. Byprarthana Prakash, Fortune, 25 Oct. 2023 Two-term Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and six-term Treasurer John Perdue were electoral juggernauts in their own right before losing in 2016 and 2020, respectively. Nathaniel Rakich, ABC News, 10 Nov. 2023 Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk both expect juggernaut sales for their diabetes and weight-loss drugs to extend into coming years — limited only by their availability, Reuters writes. Ed Silverman Reprints, STAT, 3 Nov. 2023 His skillful take on the sarcastic but lovable, neurotic but sweet character who couldn’t be any funnier helped make the series a TV juggernaut over its 10-season run. Los Angeles Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2023 With international versions in Brazil and Japan, Love Is Blind is a cultural juggernaut, but one not without its fair share of controversy. WIRED, 29 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'juggernaut.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Hindi Jagannāth, literally, lord of the world, title of Vishnu

First Known Use

1841, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of juggernaut was in 1841


Dictionary Entries Near juggernaut

Cite this Entry

“Juggernaut.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/juggernaut. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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