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From Middle English geaunt, geant, from Old French geant, gaiant (Modern French géant) from Vulgar Latin *gagās, gagant-, from Latin gigās, gigant-, from Ancient Greek γίγας (gígas, giant) Cognate to giga- (1,000,000,000).

Displaced native Middle English eten, ettin (from Old English ēoten), and Middle English eont (from Old English ent).

Compare Modern English ent (giant tree) and Old English þyrs (giant, monster, demon).


  • IPA(key): /ˈdʒaɪ.ənt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪənt
  • Hyphenation: gi‧ant


giant (plural giants)

  1. A mythical human of very great size.
  2. (mythology) Specifically, any of the gigantes, the race of giants in the Greek mythology.
  3. A very tall person.
  4. A tall species of a particular animal or plant.
  5. (astronomy) A star that is considerably more luminous than a main sequence star of the same temperature (e.g. red giant, blue giant).
  6. (computing) An Ethernet packet that exceeds the medium's maximum packet size of 1,518 bytes.
  7. A very large organisation.
    The retail giant is set to acquire two more struggling high-street chains.
  8. A person of extraordinary strength or powers, bodily or intellectual.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., [], OCLC 752825175:
      But then I had the flintlock by me for protection. ¶ There were giants in the days when that gun was made; for surely no modern mortal could have held that mass of metal steady to his shoulder. The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window [].
  9. jotun


See also: Thesaurus:giant



giant (not comparable)

  1. Very large.
    • 2013 July 26, Nick Miroff, “Mexico gets a taste for eating insects …”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 7, page 32:
      The San Juan market is Mexico City's most famous deli of exotic meats, where an adventurous shopper can hunt down hard-to-find critters …. But the priciest items in the market aren't the armadillo steaks or even the bluefin tuna. That would be the frozen chicatanasgiant winged ants – at around $500 a kilo.



Derived termsEdit