colossus

[kuh-los-uhs]
noun, plural colossi [kuh-los-ahy] , colossuses.
1.
(initial capital letter) the legendary bronze statue of Helios at Rhodes. Compare Seven Wonders of the World.
2.
any statue of gigantic size.
3.
anything colossal, gigantic, or very powerful.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek kolossós statue, image, presumably < a pre-Hellenic Mediterranean language

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
colossus (kəˈlɒsəs)
 
n , pl -si, -suses
something very large, esp a statue
 
[C14: from Latin, from Greek kolossos]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

colossus
late 14c., from L. colossus, from Gk. 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. Fig. sense of "any thing of awesome greatness or vastness" is from 1794.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

Colossus definition


(A huge and ancient statue on the Greek island of Rhodes).
1. The Colossus and Colossus Mark II computers used by Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, UK during the Second World War to crack the "Tunny" cipher produced by the Lorenz SZ 40 and SZ 42 machines. Colossus was a semi-fixed-program vacuum tube calculator (unlike its near-contemporary, the freely programmable Z3).
["Breaking the enemy's code", Glenn Zorpette, IEEE Spectrum, September 1987, pp. 47-51.]
2. The computer in the 1970 film, "Colossus: The Forbin Project". Forbin is the designer of a computer that will run all of America's nuclear defences. Shortly after being turned on, it detects the existence of Goliath, the Soviet counterpart, previously unknown to US Planners. Both computers insist that they be linked, whereupon the two become a new super computer and threaten the world with the immediate launch of nuclear weapons if they are detached. Colossus begins to give its plans for the management of the world under its guidance. Forbin and the other scientists form a technological resistance to Colossus which must operate underground.
The Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064177).
(2007-01-04)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

colossus

statue that is considerably larger than life-size. They are known from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, and Japan. The Egyptian sphinx (c. 2550 BC) that survives at al-Jizah, for example, is 240 feet (73 m) long; and the Daibutsu (Great Buddha; AD 1252) at Kamakura, Japan, is 37 feet (11.4 m) high.

Learn more about colossus with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The software colossus stands accused of using its market power unfairly.
In contrast to the pyramids, the colossus was the shortest lived of the seven
  wonders of the ancient world.
Today, it is the capital of an emerging economic colossus.
The company is unrepentant about being an old-fashioned corporate colossus.
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