- A giant.
“The Brobdingnagian bouquet of flowers dwarfed her tiny desk.”
“His favorite parts of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ were the elaborate descriptions of the Brobdingnagian people.”
“At 6 feet tall, I feel like a Brobdingnagian whenever I stand next to my very petite mother.”
English, early 18th century
Why this word?
This gigantic word — both an adjective and a noun — comes directly from the pages of Jonathan Swift’s 1726 novel “Gulliver’s Travels.” In it, Lemuel Gulliver lands in the fictional land of Brobdingnag after his ship is blown off course. This strange country is inhabited by giants, standing some 60 feet tall. The geographical features, plants, and animals are all in scale with the giants. “Brobdingnagian” (always capitalized) can signify anything of giant proportions. It could be comparatively large, such as a king-sized candy bar relative to a fun size, or it could be indisputably mammoth, such as the Great Wall of China.
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