mammoth

noun
mam·​moth | \ ˈma-məth How to pronounce mammoth (audio) \

Definition of mammoth

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of a genus (Mammuthus) of extinct Pleistocene mammals of the elephant family distinguished from recent elephants by highly ridged molars, usually large size, very long tusks that curve upward, and well-developed body hair
2 : something immense of its kind the company is a mammoth of the industry

mammoth

adjective

Definition of mammoth (Entry 2 of 2)

: of very great size

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Choose the Right Synonym for mammoth

Adjective

enormous, immense, huge, vast, gigantic, colossal, mammoth mean exceedingly large. enormous and immense both suggest an exceeding of all ordinary bounds in size or amount or degree, but enormous often adds an implication of abnormality or monstrousness. an enormous expense an immense shopping mall huge commonly suggests an immensity of bulk or amount. incurred a huge debt vast usually suggests immensity of extent. the vast Russian steppes gigantic stresses the contrast with the size of others of the same kind. a gigantic sports stadium colossal applies especially to a human creation of stupendous or incredible dimensions. a colossal statue of Lincoln mammoth suggests both hugeness and ponderousness of bulk. a mammoth boulder

Examples of mammoth in a Sentence

Noun even as sport-utility vehicles go, that one is a mammoth Adjective Renovating the house is a mammoth undertaking. a mammoth book with color plates of birds native to North America
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The pair believe the bone belonged to a Columbian mammoth, which wandered around Florida between 2.6 million and 10,000 years ago; however, the actual age is difficult to determine. Peter Aitken, Fox News, "Florida scuba divers discover 50-pound Ice Age mammoth bone in river," 2 May 2021 The leg bone once belonged to a Columbian mammoth, a short-haired elephant-like creature that wandered Florida during the Pleistocene era — between 2.6 million and 10,000 years ago. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "A mammoth discovery: Divers find ice age bones in Florida," 30 Apr. 2021 In November 2021, McCartney will publish his mammoth, two-volume The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present. Emily Zemler, Rolling Stone, "Hear Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien Remix Paul McCartney’s ‘Slidin”," 7 Apr. 2021 As players come off the floor, one by one, Drew embraces them, finally leaping into Vital’s mammoth, welcoming arms in celebration. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, "How Baylor took apart previously perfect Gonzaga in NCAA championship game," 6 Apr. 2021 In November 2021, McCartney will publish his mammoth, two-volume The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present. Emily Zemler, Rolling Stone, "Hear Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien Remix Paul McCartney’s ‘Slidin”," 7 Apr. 2021 Live video broadcast by local media outlet eXtra News showed the ship traveling at a stately pace amid a flotilla of tugboats, like a mammoth among chihuahuas. Los Angeles Times, "Ship stuck in Suez Canal is freed, allowing vital waterway to reopen," 28 Mar. 2021 In November 2021, McCartney will publish his mammoth, two-volume The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present. Emily Zemler, Rolling Stone, "Hear Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien Remix Paul McCartney’s ‘Slidin”," 7 Apr. 2021 But a lot of its DNA carried on as part of the Columbia mammoth genome. John Timmer, Wired, "Million-Year-Old DNA Rewrites Mammoths' Evolutionary Tree," 21 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The mammoth effort involved some seven million workers knocking on doors across the country in order to acquire the data. Niall Mccarthy, Forbes, "China Experiences Its Slowest Population Growth In Decades [Infographic]," 11 May 2021 The mammoth sale was first reported by the Sydney Morning Herald and confirmed to The Times by a person close to the deal. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Lachlan Murdoch drops $29.8 million on an Australian boat shed," 10 May 2021 With constant sun and almost no rain, growing cannabis in the desert requires a mammoth water and power supply to keep indoor operations going when outside temperatures soar. NBC News, "'If you build it, they will come': California desert cashes in on early cannabis investment," 10 May 2021 Some lawmakers and government-contracting experts say JEDI should be scuttled because its single-vendor, winner-take-all approach is inappropriate and outmoded for mammoth enterprises like the Department of Defense. John D. Mckinnon, WSJ, "Pentagon Weighs Ending JEDI Cloud Project Amid Amazon Court Fight," 10 May 2021 Huang quickly discovered a mammoth roadblock to his department’s pandemic response: 90 percent of senior citizens either lived in rural areas with no high-speed internet or weren’t internet-savvy enough to use it. oregonlive, "Public health workers soldier on through unprecedented pandemic: Health Care Heroes 2021," 8 May 2021 No other company comes close to Buffett's mammoth share price. Alexandra Svokos, ABC News, "Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway stock price is too high for Nasdaq to handle," 7 May 2021 The former shoe company marketing czar signed Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to their first mammoth sneaker endorsement deals and pioneered the industry’s sponsorship of teams and coaches. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "Zion Williamson’s Year in College Was Worth More Than He Got," 7 May 2021 All non-Kyle Pitts tight ends are still available as well and the top wide receiver is the mammoth Nico Collins. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Insiders Mock Draft: Colts slide down, fill roster's biggest holes," 28 Apr. 2021

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

Noun

1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1801, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mammoth

Noun

borrowed from Dutch mammut, mammuth, borrowed from 17th-century Russian mamant, probably borrowed from a presumed compound in Mansi (Finno-Ugric language of western Siberia), in modern dialects māŋ-āńt, mē̮ŋ-ońt, mā͔ŋ-ont, mā͔ŋ-ā͔ńt, literally, "earth horn," referring to tusks of the wooly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) found in arctic and subarctic Siberia

Note: The Russian word mamant, later mamont "mammoth" is first attested as a component of the possessive adjective mamantovŭ, occurring in the phrases mamantova kostĭ "mammoth bone" (1578, in the account books of the Antonievo-Sijskij Monastery in the far north of European Russia) and rogŭ mamantovŭ "mammoth horn" (1609, in a list of Siberian exports). The earliest known Western European reflection of this phrase is apparently in communications from employees of the London-based Muscovy Company. Richard Finch, a member of an expedition to the Pechora River in 1611, wrote in a letter to the company that "…being at Pechora [Pustozersk], Oust Zilma, or any of those parts, there is in the Winter time to bee had among the Samoyeds, Elephants teeth, which they sell in pieces according as they get it, and not by weight…It is called in Russe, Mamanta Kaost" (Purchas His Pilgrimes…The Third Part, London, 1625, pp. 537-38). A more detailed definition is found in a glossary of Russian words collected by Richard James (1591-1638), chaplain to an English embassy to Muscovy, who spent the winter of 1618-19 at Kholmogory, inland from Arkhangel'sk on the White Sea: "maimanto, as they say a sea eleφant, which is never seene, but according to the Samȣites [Samoyeds] he workes himself under grownde and so they finde his teeth or bones in Pechore and Nova Zemla, of which they make table men [chess pieces] in Russia" (B.A. Larin, Russko-anglijskij slovar'-dnevnik Ričarda Džemsa (1618-1619 gg.), Leningrad, 1959, pp. 181-82). Neither of these attestations had any impact on later scientific discourse on the mammoth, or the future of the word in English; James' word book, an important source for early modern spoken Russian, was scarcely known before the 20th century, and not published in its entirety until 1959. More influential were forms somehow transmitted without the n, which first appear in the writing of the Dutch statesman and scholar Nicolaas Witsen (1641-1717). Witsen visited Russia in 1664-65, reaching Moscow, but not the regions where mammoth tusks were found, and the identity of his informant is uncertain. He rendered mamantova kostĭ as Mammotekoos in an incidental reference in his work on shipbuilding (Aeloude en hedendaegsche scheeps-bouw en bestier, Amsterdam, 1671; 2nd edition, 1690). He describes how, on the banks of rivers "in a certain region of Muscovy" ("in zeeker Moskovisch gewest"), waters would expose "heavy tusks, which people judged to be from elephants, washed there at the time of the Deluge and covered with earth; they were called Mammotekoos by the Russians, Mammot meaning in Russian a large terrible beast and koos bone" ("swaere tanden, die men oordeelt van Olifanten te zijn, ten tijde des zuntvloets daar gespoelt en met aerde overstolpt : zy worden by de Russen Mammotekoos genaemt, Mammot is gesegt op Rus een groot vervaerlijck dier en voos [i.e., koos] been" [p. 3]). Witsen added much more information in Noord en Oost Tartarye (1692), a massive compilation on the geography and history of Inner Eurasia; the words are now rendered Mammout and Mammouttekoos, and the tusks reported to have been found most often on the Ob' River in Siberia and the sea coasts ("Aen de Oby en Zee-kusten worden ze 't meest gevonden…"). Witsen's books had very limited circulation. This was not the case, however, with the report of another traveler, the Holstein-born merchant and entrepreneur Evert Ysbrants Ides (1657-1712 or 13), who traversed Siberia in 1692-93 as part of a trade mission to China sent by the Russian tsar Peter. Ides is presumed to have accompanied the tsar to Amsterdam in 1697-98. There, under the auspices, and perhaps editorship, of Witsen, his account of the journey became the book Driejaarige Reize naar China, published in 1704; translations soon appeared in English (1706) and German (1707). Ides spelled the word mammut and mammuth—the latter, adopted in the English translation, most likely the source of the th spelling in English. The ulterior origin of Russian mamant, mamont has provoked much discussion, summarized in Marek Stachowski's article "Das Wort Mammut in etymologischen Wörterbüchern," Folia Orientalia, vol. 36 (2000), pp. 301-14. The Mansi etymology above was first proposed by Michel Heaney, "The Implications of Richard James's maimanto," Oxford Slavonic Papers, vol. 9 (1976), pp. 102-09; it was amplified and corrected by the Uralic specialist Evgenij Xelimskij (Eugene Helimski) in "Rossica: ètimologičeskie zametki," Issledovanija po istoričeskoj grammatike i leksikologii, Moscow, 1990, pp. 30-42. Note that the proposed Mansi compound would exactly parallel the compound jǡ-n'ǡ͔mt "mammoth tusk," literally "land horn," in the Samoyedic language Nenets.

Adjective

derivative of mammoth entry 1

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Time Traveler for mammoth

Time Traveler

The first known use of mammoth was in 1706

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Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mammoth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mammoth. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for mammoth

mammoth

noun

English Language Learners Definition of mammoth

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a type of large, hairy elephant that lived in ancient times and that had very long tusks that curved upward
: something that is very large

mammoth

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of mammoth (Entry 2 of 2)

: very large

mammoth

noun
mam·​moth | \ ˈma-məth How to pronounce mammoth (audio) \

Kids Definition of mammoth

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very large hairy extinct elephant with long tusks that curve upward

mammoth

adjective

Kids Definition of mammoth (Entry 2 of 2)

: very large : huge a mammoth iceberg

More from Merriam-Webster on mammoth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mammoth

Nglish: Translation of mammoth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mammoth

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