Definition of Ozymandias in US English:



  • Allusively. A tyrant, a dictator, a megalomaniac; someone or something of immense size, a colossus.


Late 19th century; earliest use found in Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), novelist and poet. From the name Ozymandias, alteration of Osymandyas (also occasionally in form Osymandes) from Hellenistic Greek Οσυμανδύας, ultimately from ancient Egyptian wsr-m?ʿt-rʿ, part of the prenomen of Ramesses II of Egypt, of whom a colossal 57-foot statue, now surviving only in fragments, once stood at Thebes. Use in English is probably largely after Shelley's 1817 sonnet Ozymandias (written as part of a sonnet-writing competition with Horace Smith, whose poem also contains the name; see also below). Shelley's source was apparently the Hellenistic Greek of Diodorus Siculus, who records the inscription on the statue.