\ \ [18] Colossal comes ultimately from Greek kolossós, a word of unknown origin which was first used by the historian Herodotus as a name for certain gigantic statues in Egypt. It became much better known, of course, when applied to the Colossus of Rhodes, a 36-metrehigh statue of Apollo that stood at the entrance to Rhodes harbour, built around 280 BC. Various adjectives meaning ‘huge’ have since been derived from it: Latin had colossēus and colossicus, and in the 17th century English tried colossean and colossic, but in the 18th century the choice fell on colossal, borrowed from French. The amphitheatre built in Rome by Vespasian and Titus around 80–75 BC was named Colossēum after its great size.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.


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  • colossal — colossal, ale, aux [ kɔlɔsal, o ] adj. • fin XVIe; de colosse ♦ Extrêmement grand. ⇒ démesuré, énorme, gigantesque, immense, monumental, titanesque. Taille colossale. Une statue colossale. ⇒ colosse. Des monuments colossaux. Fig. Force colossale …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Colossal — may refer to: Colossal (band), American punk band formed in 2001 (Colossal) Pictures, entertainment company which closed in 2000 See also All pages beginning with Colossal All pages with titles containing Colossal …   Wikipedia

  • Colossal — Co*los sal, a. [Cf. F. colossal, L. colosseus. See {Colossus}.] 1. Of enormous size; gigantic; huge; as, a colossal statue. A colossal stride. Motley. [1913 Webster] 2. (Sculpture & Painting) Of a size larger than heroic. See {Heroic}. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • colossal — colossal, ale (ko lo sal, sa l ) adj. 1°   Qui est extrêmement grand, comme l est le colosse. Des monuments colossaux. Statue colossale. •   Et leurs pas, ébranlant les arches colossales, Troublent les morts couchés sous le pavé des salles, V.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • colossal — In its physical sense ‘of immense size’, colossal dates from the early 18c, and was not listed by Dr Johnson (1755). The first use in its figurative meaning ‘remarkable, splendid’ is attributed to Mark Twain: • I do not suppose that any other… …   Modern English usage

  • colossal — 1712 (colossic in the same sense is recorded from c.1600), from Fr. colossal, from colosse, from L. colossus, from Gk. kolossos (see COLOSSUS (Cf. colossus)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • colossal — [kə läs′əl] adj. 1. like a colossus in size; huge; gigantic 2. astonishingly great; extraordinary [a colossal fool] SYN. ENORMOUS colossally adv …   English World dictionary

  • colossal — index capacious, gross (flagrant), prodigious (enormous) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • colossal — COLOSSAL, ALE. adj. De grandeur démesurée. Figure colossale. Au pluriel il n est d usage qu au féminin. Des statues colossales …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • colossal — /kə lɔsl/, it. / kɔlos:al/ agg. ingl., usato in ital. come s.m. (cinem.) [film spettacolare girato con profusione di mezzi e dagli alti costi di produzione] ▶◀ colosso, kolossal …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • colossal — adj. 2 g. 1. Que tem dimensões de colosso. 2. Mais que agigantado. 3.  [Figurado] Enorme; imenso.   ‣ Etimologia: colosso + al …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

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