jug·​ger·​naut | \ˈjə-gər-ˌnȯt, -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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Golden State solidified its juggernaut-ness, for the record, by locking down reigning Finals MVP Kevin Durant. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Memo to Luke Walton: Here's comes LeBron ... and all that comes with it," 2 July 2018 As the juggernaut of Brexit rolls into view, British politicians seem to be operating under the same delusion. Georgina Voss, The Atlantic, "Brexit Could Cripple Britain’s Ports," 20 June 2018 The Tony Awards kick off on Sunday night with a pair of first-time hosts and no clear show juggernaut like ‘‘Hamilton’’ to watch vacuum up statuettes, but the production will get a likely assist by The Boss — Bruce Springsteen. Mark Kennedy, BostonGlobe.com, "The Tony Awards reach out for some help from The Boss," 10 June 2018 While existing users might be returning, advertisers question whether the company can add enough new users to catch up to juggernauts like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Twitter CFO Ned Segal Says More Work Ahead to Improve Social Site," 14 May 2018 Mahathir’s heavy-handed approach worked: Malaysia recovered from the crisis to establish itself as a commodities juggernaut. Bloomberg.com, "Bloomberg," 14 May 2018 On cable television, Bill O'Reilly reigned supreme as a ratings juggernaut. Marie Simoneaux, NOLA.com, "Florida woman blames the wind for the cocaine found in her purse: report," 8 Apr. 2018 Savagery was unleashed therein as a juggernaut orchestrated by the modern-day Xerxes, Mexican Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna, swept over the Alamo. Robert Kolarik, San Antonio Express-News, "Alamo falls at dawn," 5 Mar. 2018 Some are billing today's Super Bowl LII as the juggernaut vs. the underdog. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Gameday Live: Eagles vs. Patriots in Super Bowl LII," 4 Feb. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about juggernaut

Share juggernaut

Listen to Our Podcast about juggernaut

Dictionary Entries near juggernaut








Statistics for juggernaut

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for juggernaut

The first known use of juggernaut was in 1841

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for juggernaut



English Language Learners Definition of juggernaut

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

: a very large, heavy truck

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on juggernaut

What made you want to look up juggernaut? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!