Definition of leviathan
- this leviathan of animals is the great Blue Whale
- —Weston LaBarre
- that leviathan of international corporations
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
The factory is a towering leviathan in the middle of the town.
a leviathan of the seas, that cruise ship is said to be the largest passenger vessel afloat
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leviathan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Old Testament references to a huge sea monster, Leviathan (in Hebrew, Liwyāthān), are thought to spring from an ancient myth in which the god Baal slays a multiheaded sea monster. Leviathan appears in the book of Psalms, as a sea serpent that is killed by God and then given as food to the Hebrews in the wilderness, and it is referred to in the book of Job as well. We began equating Leviathan with the political state after the philosopher Thomas Hobbes used the word in (and as the title of) his 1651 political treatise on government. Today, Leviathan often suggests a crushing political bureaucracy. Leviathan can also be immensely useful as a general term meaning "something monstrous or of enormous size."
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
What made you want to look up leviathan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).