jug·​ger·​naut ˈjə-gər-ˌnȯt How to pronounce juggernaut (audio)
: a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path
an advertising juggernaut
a political juggernaut
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 likely an exaggeration or misinterpretation of actual events, but it spread throughout Europe. The tale caught the imagination of English listeners, and they began using juggernaut to refer to any massive vehicle (such as a steam locomotive) and to any other enormous entity with powerful crushing capabilities.

Example Sentences

there was no escaping the juggernaut of hype for the studio's biggest summer blockbuster
Recent Examples on the Web As a result, Connecticut, with its reputation as an advanced-manufacturing juggernaut, has been facing a lot of fresh competition. Erica E. Phillips, Hartford Courant, 20 Feb. 2023 While the ecommerce company is a global retail juggernaut, Amazon is not as big of a player in Hollywood yet and MGM does not have a distribution platform that could anticompetitively boost Amazon Prime Video’s popularity among streaming platforms. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Nov. 2022 The series started off as a juggernaut for HBO and received nine Emmy wins and 54 total Emmy nominations over four seasons. Nick Romano, EW.com, 4 Nov. 2022 While the stakes of the case itself were relatively small, policy experts say the outcome is certain to embolden antitrust regulators around the globe and could chip away at the image of Big Tech as an invincible juggernaut. Brian Fung, CNN, 20 Oct. 2022 And the idea of this superhero factory peaking as a commercial juggernaut must be appealing to people who printed and framed that Martin Scorsese essay about the difference between Marvel movies and cinematic art. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 19 July 2022 There is a great honor that comes with representing a global juggernaut, but there is also an extraordinary weight. Malina Saval, Variety, 21 Apr. 2022 Sara Gideon, the Democratic nominee running against Collins, emerged as a fundraising juggernaut. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 18 Mar. 2022 Leveling up In late 2007, Blizzard moved into a new headquarters more befitting its status as a gaming juggernaut. Courtney Rubin, Fortune, 9 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


Hindi Jagannāth, literally, lord of the world, title of Vishnu

First Known Use

1841, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of juggernaut was in 1841


Dictionary Entries Near juggernaut

Cite this Entry

“Juggernaut.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/juggernaut. Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

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