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From Latin colossus, from Ancient Greek κολοσσός (kolossós, large statue, especially the colossus of Rhodes), from an unknown Pre-Greek etymon (and erroneously associated with κολοφών).



colossus (plural colossi or colossuses)

  1. A statue of gigantic size. The name was especially applied to certain famous statues in antiquity, as the Colossus of Nero in Rome and the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  2. (by extension) Any creature or thing of gigantic size.
    • 1951, Isaac Asimov, Foundation (1974 Panther Books Ltd publication), part V: "The Merchant Princes", chapter 18, pages 186–187:
      ["]The Empire has always been a realm of colossal resources. [] Why, they don't even understand their own colossi any longer. The machines work from generation to generation automatically, and the caretakers are a hereditary caste who would be helpless if a single D-tube in all that vast structure burnt out.["]
    • 2010 August 11 (5:00pm), Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, "Shadow of the Colossus" reviewed by Zero Punctuation, 3:27–3:42 and 3:56–4:08
      What I love about the colossi is that they actually feel colossal : they move ponderously around, sending out tremours with each step; their ancient husks richly detailed with dirt and plant life.
  3. (figurative) Somebody or something very greatly admired and respected.
    • 2014 June 21, “Magician’s brain”, in The Economist[1], volume 411, number 8892:
      The truth is that [Isaac] Newton was very much a product of his time. The colossus of science was not the first king of reason, Keynes wrote after reading Newton’s unpublished manuscripts. Instead “he was the last of the magicians”.

Related terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]



From Ancient Greek κολοσσός (kolossós, large statue), especially the colossus of Rhodes.



colossus m (genitive colossī); second declension

  1. colossus, giant statue


Second-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative colossus colossī
Genitive colossī colossōrum
Dative colossō colossīs
Accusative colossum colossōs
Ablative colossō colossīs
Vocative colosse colossī


  • Catalan: colós
  • English: colossus
  • French: colosse
  • Galician: coloso
  • Italian: colosso
  • Portuguese: colosso
  • Romanian: colos
  • Sicilian: culossu
  • Spanish: coloso

See also[edit]


  • colossus”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • colossus”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • colossus in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • colossus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • colossus”, in The Perseus Project (1999) Perseus Encyclopedia[2]
  • colossus”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898), Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • colossus”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin