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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Colosseum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She heard the famous Father Gavazzi preach the crusade in the Colosseum.

  • The largest of these amphitheaters was the Colosseum, the ruins of which still exist.

    Introductory American History Henry Eldridge Bourne
  • In vain; the address was gone—gone with the leaves she had torn out and thrown away in the Colosseum.

    Manasseh Maurus Jokai
  • A circus or theatre of our day is a toy compared to the Colosseum.

    From Pole to Pole Sven Anders Hedin
  • Following the guidebook's advice we had seen the Colosseum in Rome by moonlight.

    Europe Revised Irvin S. Cobb
  • 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
  • Marynia could scarcely sit still at the thought that she would see the Capitol, the Forum, and the Colosseum by moonlight.

    Children of the Soil Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • "You succeeded with the Colosseum," was Blanka's encouraging rejoinder.

    Manasseh Maurus Jokai
  • The night is so beautiful that we, too, came to the Colosseum.

    Children of the Soil Henryk Sienkiewicz
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 American Heritage® 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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