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

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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

Patrick Varone, who hosts the web show Shot Topics, considers this fight the moment Pump went from just another reality show to Bravo’s nutcase juggernaut. Danny Murphy, Marie Claire, "9 Dramatic 'Vanderpump Rules' Moments Nobody Can Ever Forget," 3 Dec. 2018 Airbnb’s meteoric climb from small startup to multibillion-dollar hospitality juggernaut has seen the short-term rental service closely associated with cities. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How vacation homes went from private escape to investment opportunities," 2 Oct. 2018 Benetton, founded in 1965 as a family company, grew into an international juggernaut with thousands of outlets worldwide and a reputation for pushing the envelope while championing diversity in its images. Ceylan Yeginsu, New York Times, "Benetton ‘Migrants’ Ads Draw Outrage for Using Photos of Real Migrants," 21 June 2018 In adopting the Deadpool franchise's overall tone of self-award parody and irreverence, the cinematic X-Force could very well adapt to fit the genre niches that aren't currently being served by Marvel Studios' superhero movie juggernaut. Meg Downey, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Potential of the Expanding 'Deadpool' Universe," 22 May 2018 That’s why all eyes have been on a super PAC in Pennsylvania’s Fifth District, which was recently launched by political juggernaut John Dougherty. Andrew Seidman, Philly.com, "Philly 'con man' gets $25K cash infusion from Johnny Doc's union | Clout," 19 Apr. 2018 But for now, the two spots in Monday’s national championship game shall be inherited by the juggernauts with the giant bounding German and the merciless long-range sharpshooters who never miss. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "Madness ends, and inevitability prevails," 31 Mar. 2018 After success in the 100-hour Persian Gulf War, the greatest U.S. military victory since World War II, Mr. Bush seemed the captain of an American juggernaut. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "George H.W. Bush, America’s 41st President and Father of 43rd, Dies," 1 Dec. 2018 Fighting the juggernaut of Erdogan’s party machine, the opposition had aimed to at least weaken the president, either by forcing him into a runoff or by robbing his Justice and Development Party of a majority in Parliament. New York Times, BostonGlobe.com, "Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims victory in pivotal Turkish election," 24 June 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.

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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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Statistics for juggernaut

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for juggernaut

The first known use of juggernaut was in 1841

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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

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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).


a complex dispute or argument

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