Jug"ger*naut`(?), n. [Skr. jaganntha lord of the world.] 1. One of the names under which Vishnu, in his incarnation as Krishna, is worshiped by the Hindus. See also Jagannath.
The principal seat of the worship of Juggernaut (Jagannath) is at Pri in Orissa. At certain times the idol is drawn from the temple by the multitude, on a high car with sixteen wheels. The idol is considered to contain the bones of Krishna and to possess a soul. The principal festivals are the
Snanayatra, when the idol is bathed, and the
Rathayatra, when the image is drawn upon a car adorned with obscene paintings. Formerly it was erroneously supposed that fanatical devotees threw themselves under the wheels of this car, to be crushed as a sacrifice to the god. It is now known that any death within the temple of Jagannath is considered to render the place unclean, and any spilling of blood in the presence of the idol is a pollution. As a result of this erroneous belief, however, the word juggernaut is now used principally in the figurative sense 2.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
2. Any large, unstoppable force, power, or popular movement which defeats or destroys any person who gets in its way or attempts to stop it; as, for years the Notre Dame football team was an unstoppable
juggernaut; after the early primaries, Johnson's campaign became a
juggernaut, crushing all rivals.
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Sat 15th December 2018