1 : a large heavy truck
2 : a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path
Did You Know?
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 "Jagannāth," 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.
Led by their talented shooting guard, the high school’s basketball team was a juggernaut, winning the state championship three years in a row.
"During most of the year, Claire Handleman pays the rent working at Del Posto, the Bastianich-Batali Italian juggernaut that won four stars from the New York Times last year." -- From an article by Keith Wagstaff on the Village Voice Fork in the Road blog, June 16, 2011
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
What is the meaning of "Vaishnava"? (Hint: It has something to do with Vishnu.) The answer is ...
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