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giant

[jahy-uh nt] /ˈdʒaɪ ənt/
noun
1.
(in folklore) a being with human form but superhuman size, strength, etc.
2.
a person or thing of unusually great size, power, importance, etc.; major figure; legend:
a giant in her field; an intellectual giant.
3.
(often initial capital letter) Classical Mythology. any of the Gigantes.
4.
Mining. monitor (def 12).
5.
Astronomy, giant star.
adjective
6.
unusually large, great, or strong; gigantic; huge.
7.
greater or more eminent than others.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English geant < Old French < Latin gigant- (stem of gigās) < Greek Gígās; replacing Old English gigant < Latin, as above
Related forms
giantlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for giant
  • Print detailed illustrations of giant tree frogs and other animals to color or use in school projects.
  • Don your costume and strut through town with masqueraders and giant puppets.
  • Professionals quickly confirmed the sighting and started aiming their powerful telescopes at the gas giant.
  • Conventional wisdom says that forests prevent flooding by acting as giant sponges.
  • All these risk-takers see their environment, which is typically urban, as a giant obstacle course waiting to be surmounted.
  • The giant planet's moons were gnats, rather than gnarled landscapes of methane lakes and dusty geysers.
  • In the water you'd see a pretty hostile place, with lots of predatory fish with giant fangs.
  • The giant sea spider, whose long mouthpart sucks the tissue out of its invertebrate prey.
  • Then a giant machine sucks up the nuts and shoots them into the totes.
  • The rig's perforated red beams resemble a giant segmented insect.
British Dictionary definitions for giant

giant

/ˈdʒaɪənt/
noun
1.
a mythical figure of superhuman size and strength, esp in folklore or fairy tales Also (feminine) giantess (ˈdʒaɪəntɪs)
2.
a person or thing of exceptional size, reputation, etc a giant in nuclear physics
3.
(Greek myth) any of the large and powerful offspring of Uranus (sky) and Gaea (earth) who rebelled against the Olympian gods but were defeated in battle
4.
(pathol) a person suffering from gigantism
5.
(astronomy) See giant star
6.
(mining) another word for monitor (sense 8)
adjective
7.
remarkably or supernaturally large
8.
(architect) another word for colossal
Derived Forms
giant-like, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French geant, from Vulgar Latin gagās (unattested), from Latin gigās, gigant-, from Greek
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for giant
n.

c.1300, from Old French geant, earlier jaiant (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *gagantem (nominative gagas), from Latin gigas "giant," from Greek gigas (genitive gigantos), one of a race of savage beings, sons of Gaia and Uranus, eventually destroyed by the gods, probably from a pre-Greek language. Replaced Old English ent, eoten, also gigant. The Greek word was used in Septuagint to refer to men of great size and strength, hence the expanded use in modern languages. Of very tall persons from 1550s; of persons who have any quality in extraordinary degree, from 1530s.

In þat tyme wer here non hauntes Of no men bot of geauntes. [Wace's Chronicle, c.1330]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for giant

in folklore, huge mythical being, usually humanlike in form. The term derives (through Latin) from the Giants (Gigantes) of Greek mythology, who were monstrous, savage creatures often depicted with men's bodies terminating in serpentine legs. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, they were sons of Ge ("Earth") and Uranus ("Heaven"). The Gigantomachy was a desperate struggle between the Giants and the Olympians. The gods finally prevailed through the aid of Heracles the archer, and the Giants were slain. Many of them were believed to lie buried under mountains and to indicate their presence by volcanic fires and earthquakes. The Gigantomachy became a popular artistic theme (found, for example, on the frieze adorning the great altar at Pergamum), and it was interpreted as a symbol of the triumph of Hellenism over barbarism, of good over evil.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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