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Juggernaut

Juggernaut is a word with an interesting origin, derived from Hindi. We’ll look at the meaning of the word juggernaut, its origins, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Juggernaut means an overwhelming force or all-encompassing institution, a powerful force or institution that demands self-sacrifice or destroys all in its path. In British English, a juggernaut might describe a large, heavy truck, especially a tractor trailer. The word juggernaut is derived from the word Jagannatha, a term for the Hindu god Krishna. The Sanskrit word Jagannātha translates as Lord of the world. In the Indian town of Puri, a festival is held where the form of Krishna as Jagannatha is dragged through the streets on a heavy chariot. Devotees were once said to throw themselves under the wheels of this chariot as a sacrifice. In the eighteenth century the word Jagannatha was anglicized as Juggernaut. Eventually, the term evolved to mean an overwhelming force that destroys all in its path. Today the word Juggernaut still refers to the Krishna chariot of Puri, India when capitalized. When used figuratively, the word juggernaut is not capitalized.

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Examples

“They’re a bona fide juggernaut that is making good on all the top prospect lists we’ve read over the years and all the expectations coming into the season.” (The Wall Street Journal)

How does an unemployed thirty-something journalism school graduate with a background in Buddhist publishing take a flailing regional glossy about yoga and turn it into a multimedia “feel-good” content juggernaut that attracts millions of monthly readers? (The Columbia Journalism Review)

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has spoken out after a team of Mail on Sunday journalists narrowly escaped death last week when three migrants threw a log at their car, forcing it into the path of a 38-ton juggernaut. (The Daily Mail)

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