colossus (plural colossuses or colossi)

  1. A statue of gigantic size. The name was especially applied to certain famous statues in antiquity, as the Colossus of Nero in Rome and the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  2. Any creature or thing of gigantic size.
    • 1951, Isaac Asimov, Foundation (1974 Panther Books Ltd publication), part V: “The Merchant Princes”, chapter 18, pages 186–187:
      [“]The Empire has always been a realm of colossal resources. They’ve calculated everything in planets, in stellar systems, in whole sectors of the Galaxy. Their generators are gigantic because they thought in gigantic fashion. […]
      To supply light and heat to a city, they have motors six stories high — I saw them — where ours could fit into this room. And when I told one of their atomic specialists that a lead container the size of a walnut contained an atomic generator, he almost choked with indignation on the spot.
      Why, they don’t even understand their own colossi any longer. The machines work from generation to generation automatically, and the caretakers are a hereditary caste who would be helpless if a single D-tube in all that vast structure burnt out.[”]
    • 2010 August 11 (5:00pm), Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw ↗, “Shadow of the Colossus ↗” reviewed by Zero Punctuation ↗, 3:27–3:42 and 3:56–4:08
      What I love about the colossi is that they actually feel colossal : they move ponderously around, sending out tremours with each step; their ancient husks richly detailed with dirt and plant life. They really do feel like something that has been sleeping in the ground for so long they’ve almost become part of the landscape, now rudely awoken and sleepily pawing at you, like you’re an unusually aggressive snooze button.
      So Shadow of the Colossus has its gripes: one or two of the colossi phone it in a bit, especially the ones that are only about the size of a bull, which is disappointing when held against flying-snakey-speeding-horsey-leapy-stabby wahey, like a big gift box containing five thousand packing peanuts and a Kinder Surprise.
  3. (figurative) Somebody or something very greatly admired and respected.
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