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

Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay have been something of a juggernaut in the country music scene lately. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Dan + Shay Explain the Real Meaning Behind 'Tequila'," 3 Apr. 2019 Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News As Sinclair has grown from a handful of stations to a juggernaut over the past three decades, the company has become more vocal on political issues. Joe Flint, WSJ, "Sinclair Broadcast, Known for Rightward Tilt, Hires Liberal Commentator," 23 Jan. 2019 No trip to the social media juggernaut is complete without this photo and now, with the opening of Instagram’s new Manhattan offices, comes a brand new made-for-Instagram moment. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "The Versace Mansion Comes to Instagram HQ with a New Made-for-the-Gram Mini Room," 5 June 2018 Earlier this year, the manufacturing juggernaut was awarded a $250 million contract to develop tech for NASA's Low-Flight Boom program. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Lockheed Martin Has Started Building NASA's X-59 Experimental Supersonic Jet," 20 Nov. 2018 Merlin, the indie label licensing and collection juggernaut, is helping its 20,000 labels, imprints and indie distributors grow beyond their home markets. Ed Christman, Billboard, "Merlin: Indie Labels Point to Growth Beyond Their Borders as Digital Dominates With 14 Billion Monthly Streams," 28 June 2018 Still, the inaugural publication of an annual report also comes at a time of flux for the French luxury juggernaut. Elizabeth Paton, New York Times, "Chanel Publishes Annual Results for First Time in 108 Years," 21 June 2018 By the late Seventies, as the Japanese juggernaut swept the country, VW just didn’t seem to hit the right chords with the public. Ed Wallace, star-telegram, "Killed once by affluence, the second time by indifference | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 7 Apr. 2018 Trump has been unrelenting in his criticism of Amazon.com Inc. in recent days, saying the online retailing juggernaut takes advantage of the U.S. Postal Service and doesn’t pay sufficient taxes. Giles Turner, Bloomberg.com, "Spotify Poised to List in Turbulent Time for Shares: Tech Update," 3 Apr. 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

13 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for juggernaut

The first known use of juggernaut was in 1841

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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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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 secret plot to overthrow a government

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