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A person or thing of enormous size, importance or ability; the word in this sense is recorded from the early 17th century, and derives from the Colossus of Rhodes.

Colossus was the name given to the electronic digital computer, one of the first of its kind, which was developed at Bletchley Park in the Second World War to break German codes, the use of which was said to have shortened the war by two years.

Colossus of Rhodes a huge bronze statue of the sun god Helios, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Built c. 292–280bc, it stood beside the harbour entrance at Rhodes for about fifty years. Colossus comes via Latin from Greek kolossos, applied by Herodotus to the statues of Egyptian temples.

Subjects: Classical studies

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