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[kuh-los-uh s] /kəˈlɒs əs/
noun, plural colossi
[kuh-los-ahy] /kəˈlɒs aɪ/ (Show IPA),
(initial capital letter) the legendary bronze statue of Helios at Rhodes.
any statue of gigantic size.
anything colossal, gigantic, or very powerful.
Origin of colossus
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek kolossós statue, image, presumably < a pre-Hellenic Mediterranean language Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for colossi
Historical Examples
  • No time to study the features of the colossi, or to search for the grave of Major Tidwell.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • We look, we search, and instead of the colossi, we find abortions.

    Napoleon the Little Victor Hugo
  • The two colossi on the plain of Thebes are, of course, hard gritstone.

    Museum of Antiquity L. W. Yaggy
  • Two canary-coloured colossi have just deposited tea on a small table.

    Red as a Rose is She Rhoda Broughton
  • We loitered too long around the colossi of Memnon and the palaces of the plain.

  • I'll take you to the tombs of the Kings, and to the colossi when the sun is setting.

    Bella Donna Robert Hichens
  • Michael Angelo himself was under no illusions about these colossi.


    David Lindsay, Earl of Crawford
  • He cried to the colossi sitting in their plain, and to the yellow precipices of the mountains of Libya.

    The Spell of Egypt Robert Hichens
  • The Nile has sunk away from the feet of the colossi that it has bathed through many days.

    The Spell of Egypt Robert Hichens
  • There is no place that I know on the earth which has the peculiar, bright, ineffable calm of the plain of these colossi.

    The Spell of Egypt Robert Hichens
British Dictionary definitions for colossi


noun (pl) -si (-saɪ), -suses
something very large, esp a statue
Word Origin
C14: from Latin, from Greek kolossos
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 colossi



"gigantic statue," late 14c., from Latin colossus "a statue larger than life," from Greek 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 Rhodes. Figurative sense of "any thing of awesome greatness or vastness" is from 1794.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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