mammoth

The adjective mammoth is a great way to describe something really, really big, like those huge woolly elephants they’re still finding in the melting glaciers.

The word mammoth is a pretty new one, dating back only to around 1700. It was first only a noun from the Russian word mammot, meaning “earth,” and used to name the newly-discovered fossilized creature that was thought to have burrowed in the earth like a mole. The word, a rare Russian contribution to English, was not used as an adjective until around 1800 — notably when President Thomas Jefferson used it to describe a very large cheese.

Definitions of mammoth
  1. noun
    any of numerous extinct elephants widely distributed in the Pleistocene; extremely large with hairy coats and long upcurved tusks
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    types:
    Mammuthus primigenius, northern mammoth, woolly mammoth
    very hairy mammoth common in colder portions of the northern hemisphere
    Mammuthus columbi, columbian mammoth
    a variety of mammoth
    Archidiskidon imperator, imperial elephant, imperial mammoth
    largest known mammoth; of America
    type of:
    elephant
    five-toed pachyderm
  2. adjective
    so exceedingly large or extensive as to suggest a giant or mammoth
    “a mammoth ship”
    “a mammoth multinational corporation”
    synonyms: gigantic
    big, large
    above average in size or number or quantity or magnitude or extent
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