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[kol-uh-see-uh m] /ˌkɒl əˈsi əm/
an ancient amphitheater in Rome, begun a.d. c70 by Vespasian, having the form of an oval 617 by 512 feet (188 by 156 meters).
(lowercase) coliseum.
Origin of Colosseum
< Latin, noun use of neuter of colossēus gigantic < Greek kolossiaîos, equivalent to koloss(ós) colossus + -iaios adj. suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Colosseum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The largest of these amphitheaters was the Colosseum, the ruins of which still exist.

    Introductory American History Henry Eldridge Bourne
  • A circus or theatre of our day is a toy compared to the Colosseum.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin
  • The Colosseum will not suffer its likeness to be taken by every one; it is a favour that must be fought for.

    Manasseh Maurus Jokai
  • This view of the Colosseum reminds me of one I saw at the Rossis'.

    Manasseh Maurus Jokai
  • "You succeeded with the Colosseum," was Blanka's encouraging rejoinder.

    Manasseh Maurus Jokai
  • A maniac at large and ranging at night about amid the Colosseum's ruins!

  • Do, for charity's sake, accompany us, or meet us at the Colosseum.

    Godolphin, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • In Verona we went to see the play in the Colosseum by moonlight.

    Rafael in Italy Etta Blaisdell McDonald
  • Like the Colosseum, it is the crestless trunk of its former self.

    Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 2 Francis Marion Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for Colosseum


a variant spelling of coliseum


an amphitheatre in Rome built about 75–80 ad
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Colosseum

1560s, Medieval Latin name for the classical Amphitheatrum Flavium (begun c.70 C.E.), noun use of neuter of adjective colosseus "gigantic;" perhaps a reference to the colossal statue of Nero that long stood nearby (see colossus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Colosseum in Culture

Colosseum definition

A great arena of ancient Rome, which seated fifty thousand. It is in ruins today, but its former glory can still be imagined.

Note: Some of the contests staged in the Colosseum were between gladiators, who fought with swords; some were between people and animals. The arena could even be flooded for mock sea battles.
Note: According to tradition, persecuted Christians were fed to lions in the Colosseum for the entertainment of the Romans. (See also bread and circuses.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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