Word Origin & History
1638, "huge wagon bearing an image of the god Krishna," especially that at the town of Puri, drawn annually in procession in which (apocryphally) devotees allowed themselves to be crushed under its wheels in sacrifice. Altered from Jaggernaut, a title of Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu), from Hindi
Jagannath, lit. "lord of the world," from Skt. jagat "world" + natha-s "lord, master." The first European description of the festival is by Friar Odoric (c.1321). Fig. sense of "anything that demands blind devotion or merciless sacrifice" is from 1854.