Definition of colossus in English:



  • 1A statue that is much bigger than life size.

    ‘two statues known as the Colossi of Memnon’
    • ‘The Colossus was built by Chares of Lindus in 280 BCE to celebrate the Rhodian victory over the Macedonians and to thank the god Helios for protecting them.’
    • ‘Not that he was a formidable figure bestriding the political scene like a colossus.’
    • ‘The party that once bestrode British politics like a colossus has arrived on the Lancashire coast in timid, uncertain mood.’
    • ‘Few details are known of the original Colossus of Rhodes, which was built by a local sculptor between 304 and 292BC and whose face was reputedly modelled on that of Alexander the Great.’
    • ‘The Colossus of Rameses is an enormous statue carved in limestone.’
    • ‘We sit astride the globe like a mighty colossus.’
    1. 1.1 A person or thing of enormous size, importance, or ability.
      ‘the Russian Empire was the colossus of European politics’
      • ‘And, more importantly, the sheer condescension of assuming that the room divides into the colossi of the politico-media ruling class and everyone else sums up everything that's wrong with the modern Democratic Party.’
      • ‘He was a colossus among lawyers and a giant among men.’
      • ‘One might have thought such an unlikely colossus of Australian political history would have encouraged a few level-headed intellectuals and journalists to write a serious biography.’
      • ‘He is a colossus of courage and integrity in an age of political pygmies.’
      • ‘Though only a provincial leader, she is, in the words of a political commentator, ‘a colossus who dominates national politics’.’
      • ‘He may not be a political colossus but he bestrides Scotland with an absolute and unchallenged power.’
      • ‘This emerging colossus could find its economic and political influence rising in tandem with the decline of American influence.’
      • ‘Living next to the colossus of America and all that it entails - from common cultural development to never having to defend ourselves from an external threat - has stunted our nationalism.’
      • ‘But even if Betjeman had been less of a cultural colossus, Hillier's monumental approach to biography would be justified, because he paints not just an individual but a species.’
      • ‘However, his death in 1994 made an art form of revisionism, as everyone from Clinton down rushed to praise this colossus of American politics.’
      • ‘The Red Army, which had beaten the Wehrmacht colossus from the Volga back to Warsaw with incomparable martyrdom, had to quickly relieve the pressure on the inexperienced troops on the allied Western front.’
      • ‘Brown's speech last week confirmed him as a political colossus.’
      • ‘As I plotted the epic crash of this colossus, my heart began to pound in anticipation.’
      • ‘As a pianist he was a child prodigy who studied with Mozart, and was well-established in Vienna well before Beethoven arrived to sweep all before him, an emergent colossus bestriding the classical-romantic divide.’
      monster, brute, beast, giant, mountain, behemoth, leviathan, mammoth, monstrosity
      View synonyms


  • bestride something like a colossus

    • Totally dominate a place or area of activity.

      ‘he bestrode French cinema like a colossus’
      ‘the Hapsburg empire had bestrode Europe like a colossus’
      • ‘Disappointed at Eden Gardens, a venue that he normally bestrides like a colossus, and then got into trouble with the match officials too.’
      • ‘But for four weeks last summer Ronaldo bestrode the World Cup like a colossus.’
      • ‘The party that once bestrode British politics like a colossus has arrived on the Lancashire coast in timid, uncertain mood.’
      • ‘Not that he was a formidable figure bestriding the political scene like a colossus.’
      • ‘But in the end it will never be like it was before, where England effortlessly bestrode the cricket world like a colossus because of its historical priorities and prerogatives.’
      • ‘After September 11, he bestrode the city like a colossus, miraculously raising the spirits of its citizens.’
      • ‘The man who bestrides the sumo world like a colossus has been implicated in match-fixing claims that are rocking Japan's national sport.’
      • ‘The Father of the Nation, who once bestrode the world like a colossus, had left us orphaned.’
      • ‘What most people don't know is that after World War I, and particularly in Austria where the Hapsburg empire had bestrode Europe like a colossus, things were very, very tough.’
      • ‘The equaliser arrived like a dove from above, a divine free kick from Graham Kavanagh, whose all-round game bestrode this contest like a colossus.’


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek kolossos (applied by Herodotus to the statues of Egyptian temples).