jug·​ger·​naut | \ ˈjə-gər-ˌnȯt How to pronounce juggernaut (audio) , -ˌnät \

Definition of juggernaut

1 : a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path an advertising juggernaut a political juggernaut
2 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 probably an exaggeration or misinterpretation of actual events, but it spread throughout Europe anyway. The tale caught the imagination of English listeners, and by the 19th century, they were using juggernaut to refer to any massive vehicle (such as a steam locomotive) or 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 Lillard endured doubts about his lack of postseason experience and up-and-down performances against the Rockets’ defensive juggernaut, Patrick Beverley. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Trail Blazers Classics: LaMarcus Aldridge’s record-setting night lifts Portland over Houston Rockets in Game 1 of playoffs," 12 May 2020 The Marvel Comic juggernaut, which was filmed in Atlanta, broke records when it was released Feb. 16, 2018. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "Here are the ‘Black Panther’ characters confirmed to appear in the Marvel sequel," 9 Mar. 2020 Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, wanted to learn how the multi-billion-dollar Olympic Games, for decades a broadcast-TV juggernaut, could better reach young audiences. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "Coronavirus Could Cause Youth Sports Recession," 7 Apr. 2020 But in most other years, the state has been able to produce other viable NFL prospects from schools besides its two football juggernauts -- a trend that could be disrupted in 2020. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, "State’s small-school prospects facing unusually steep climb to NFL," 6 Apr. 2020 And Old Navy, long its juggernaut, has had uneven performances in the last year. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Gap Inc furloughing 80,000 store workers because of coronavirus hit to sales," 30 Mar. 2020 Although the country is a research juggernaut, ethical controls are uneven, at best, and sometimes nonexistent. Adam Marcus, Wired, "The Science of This Pandemic Is Moving at Dangerous Speeds," 28 Mar. 2020 And while Trump’s reelection effort is a fundraising juggernaut, his 2016 campaign was powered in part by his own wealth, to the tune of $66.1 million in personal contributions and loans. NBC News, "Mike Bloomberg is spending big in his presidential bid. Here’s how other self-funders fared.," 21 Dec. 2019 Best comic of the decade: Saga (Image) The 2010s transformed Star Wars from dorky cultural touchstone to mammoth corporate juggernaut; fans who used to wait years for movies (or even tie-in novels) now got blasted with a new one year after year. Christian Holub, EW.com, "The best comics of the decade," 21 Nov. 2019

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

1841, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for juggernaut

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

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Time Traveler for juggernaut

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The first known use of juggernaut was in 1841

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Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Juggernaut.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/juggernaut. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for juggernaut


How to pronounce juggernaut (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of juggernaut

: something (such as a force, campaign, or movement) that is extremely large and powerful and cannot be stopped
British : a very large, heavy truck

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