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See also: Juggernaut


English Wikipedia has an article on:
The Car of Juggernaut, as depicted in the 1851 Illustrated London Reading Book.
Modern festival, 2007


17th century, from Hindustani جگنّاتھ / जगन्नाथ (jagannāth) or Odia ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ (jôgônnathô), from Sanskrit जगन्नाथ (jagannātha, "Lord of the Universe) (Jagannath), a title for the Hindu deity Vishnu's avatar Krishna. English form influenced by suffix -naut (sailor). Doublet of Jagannath.

From British colonial era in India, witnessing the Rath Yatra (chariot parade) at Puri, Orissa. The festival features a huge annual procession, with a wagon of the idol of Jagannath. Pulled with ropes by hundreds of devotees, the wagon develops considerable momentum and becomes unstoppable.



juggernaut (plural juggernauts)

  1. A literal or metaphorical force or object regarded as unstoppable, that will crush all in its path.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, London: Chapman and Hall, [], →OCLC:
      [] poor Johnny Tetterby staggering under his Moloch of an infant, the Juggernaut that crushes all his enjoyments.
    • 2011 October 1, Saj Chowdhury, “Wolverhampton 1 - 2 Newcastle”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      McCarthy will point to their bad luck but the statistics now show that Wolves have lost four league matches and have claimed one point from a possible 15 - so it may prove to be another difficult season for the Midlands side.
      In contrast, the Newcastle juggernaut rolls on.
    • 2014, James Lambert, “Diachronic stability in Indian English lexis”, in World Englishes, page 114:
      The fact that the juggernaut of Indian English rolls inexorably on, largely unconcerned by the academic arguments taking place about it, is in itself an indicator of an endonormative force in the variety, and this can be traced historically.
    • 2015 February 23, “Oscars 2015: 10 things we learned”, in The Guardian (London)[2]:
      It’s always fun when something massive comes along and sweeps the board, giving everything else a thoroughly good kicking – think Titanic, The Silence of the Lambs, or Lord of the Rings. There’s a sort of deranged, gluttonous feeling, a perverse glee in seeing so many dreams trampled on by a massive cultural juggernaut.
  2. (British, Ireland, sometimes derogatory) A large, cumbersome truck or lorry, especially an artic.
    • 2019, “I love my juggernaut”, in The Pothole Song Album[3], performed by Richie Kavanagh:
      I know I swing me Volvo all around you market square. I know you think that lorry drivers, we just don't care. But the streets are so narrow, built so many years ago. They were built for horses' carts, not juggernauts you know.
  3. An institution that incites destructive devotion or to which people are carelessly sacrificed.


  • 1895, H. G. Wells, chapter XII, in The Wheels of Chance:
    Anon Mr. Hoopdriver found himself riding out of the darkness of non-existence, pedalling Ezekiel's Wheels across the Weald of Surrey, jolting over the hills and smashing villages in his course, while the other man in brown cursed and swore at him and shouted to stop his career. There was the Putney heath-keeper, too, and the man in drab raging at him. He felt an awful fool, a- -what was it?--a juggins, ah!--a Juggernaut.