Colossal is an ordinary word used by ordinary people, even though it doesn't describe ordinary things. Its meaning, of course, is enormous in size, extent, or degree. Its closest synonym is gigantic. In ancient times the Colossus referred to the bronze Colossus of Rhodes, a representation of the sun god Helios, built to commemorate the successful defense of Rhodes against King Demetrius Poliorcetes of Macedonia in 305 B.C. The Colossus was a huge statue erected across the entrance of the harbor of Rhodes. Pliny, the Roman historian, tells us that the statue was 70 cubits or more high, which, according to today's measurements, means that it reached 120 feet heavenward and was so large that ships could sail between its legs. The word Colossus (Latin, from the Greek Kolossos, "large") referred only to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. English has acquired the word colossal from this humongous figure designed in 280 B.C. by a sculptor named Chares. In 224 B.C. disaster beset this monumental artwork when an earthquake toppled it.
   Shakespeare's Julius Caesar immortalized this ancient statue when Cassius described the title character to Brutus: Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world Like a Colossus; and we petty men Walk under his high legs, and peep about To find ourselves dishonorable graves.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.


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  • Colossus — Una computadora Colossus Mark II. El panel inclinado de la izquierda se usaba para establecer el número de patrones de pines de Lorenz. La cinta transportadora de papel está en la derecha. Ubicación Gran Bretaña …   Wikipedia Español

  • Colossus — Mark II Colossi waren frühe Computer, die in England während des Zweiten Weltkriegs speziell zur Dechiffrierung von geheimen Nachrichten des deutschen Militärs gebaut wurden. Mit ihrer Hilfe wurde ab 1943 in Bletchley Park die Entzifferung der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Colossus — Co*los sus, n.; pl. L. {Colossi}, E. {Colossuses}. [L., fr. Gr. ?.] 1. A statue of gigantic size. The name was especially applied to certain famous statues in antiquity, as the Colossus of Nero in Rome, the Colossus of Apollo at Rhodes. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Colossus — es el nombre de una serie de computadoras electrónicas utilizadas durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial para romper códigos criptográficos. Inventada y alojada cerca de Londres en Bletchley Park. Aunque las computadoras colossus procedían de otras… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • colossus — gigantic statue, late 14c., from L. colossus a statue larger than life, from Gk. kolossos gigantic statue, of unknown origin, used by Herodotus of giant Egyptian statues, and used by Romans of the bronze Apollo at the entrance to the harbor of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Colossus — (gr.), s. Koloß; die in Rom errichteten Colossi, z.B. der C, Neronis, Domitiani etc., s. u. Rom (a. Geogr.) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • colossus — [n] giant thing behemoth, Cyclops, Gargantua, giant, Godzilla, Goliath, Hercules, leviathan, mammoth, Samson, titan; concept 424 …   New thesaurus

  • colossus — ► NOUN (pl. colossi or colossuses) ▪ a person or thing of enormous size, in particular a statue that is much bigger than life size. ORIGIN Latin, from Greek kolossos …   English terms dictionary

  • colossus — [kə läs′əs] n. pl. for 1 & 3 colossi [kə läs′ī΄] or colossuses [ME < L < Gr kolossos] 1. a gigantic statue 2. [C ] the gigantic statue of Apollo set at the entrance to the harbor of Rhodes c. 280 B.C. and included among the Seven Wonders of …   English World dictionary

  • Colossus — The original meaning of the word colossus is an exceptionally large statue. Colossus may refer to: Contents 1 Statues 2 Media 3 Computing …   Wikipedia

  • Colossus — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Colossus (homonymie). Colossus Personnage de fiction apparaissant dans …   Wikipédia en Français

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