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humongous

[ hyoo-muhng-guhs, -mong- or, often, yoo- ]
/ hyuˈmʌŋ gəs, -ˈmɒŋ- or, often, yu- /
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adjective Slang.

extraordinarily large.

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Also hu·mun·gous [hyoo-muhng-guhs or, often, yoo-] /hyuˈmʌŋ gəs or, often, yu-/ .

Origin of humongous

First recorded in 1965–70; Americanism; expressive coinage, perhaps reflecting huge and monstrous with stress pattern of tremendous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does humongous mean?

Humongous is an informal way of saying extraordinarily large or huge. Some things are more than huge—they’re humongous.

A similarly informal synonym is ginormous. Other synonyms include gigantic, enormous, gargantuan, colossal, and mammoth.

The word is most often applied to physical objects whose size makes you marvel with awe. Blue whales are humongous. Skyscrapers are humongous. The Grand Canyon is humongous.

But it can also be applied to intangible things, as in With all the champagne and caviar that we ordered, the bill for dinner is going to be humongous. 

Like any adjective used to describe something’s size, humongous is often used in a way that’s relative to the situation. Many things described as humongous are objectively huge, like redwood trees or the planet Jupiter. But something might be considered humongous only in comparison to other similar things. For example, an unusually large grapefruit might be described as humongous even though it’s not all that big in general—it’s simply humongous compared to normal-sized grapefruits.

Humongous is sometimes casually used to mean extremely important or significant—much like the figurative use of big and huge, as in This is a humongous win for the franchise. Sometimes, this is negative, as in humongous error, humongous failure, or humongous misunderstanding. Because it’s so informal, it’s unlikely to be used in very serious situations.

Example: You don’t realize how humongous the sun is until you see an image of a planet next to it for scale.

Where does humongous come from?

The first records of the word humongous come from around 1970. It’s origin is uncertain, but it’s probably modeled after or based on a combination of words like huge, monstrous, and tremendous. It was first used in the U.S.

Humongous is typically used to emphasize how huge something really is. Because it’s very informal, it’s often used to be humorous or exaggerate. Ginormous is often used in the same way.

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What are some synonyms for humongous?

What are some words that often get used in discussing humongous?

How is humongous used in real life?

Humongous is informal. It’s used to describe things that are truly massive. It’s also commonly used in an exaggerated way to describe something that’s very large compared to others of its kind.

 

Try using humongous!

Which of the following words is a synonym of humongous?  

A. gigantic
B. ginormous
C. gargantuan
D. all of the above

Example sentences from the Web for humongous

British Dictionary definitions for humongous

humongous
/ (ˌhjuːˈmʌŋɡəs) /

adjective

exceptionally large; huge

Word Origin for humongous

C20: of uncertain origin
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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