giant


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to giant: red giant
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

a dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants

A person whose insights, discoveries, or knowledge in general is not due to their own ingenuity, but rather due to the discoveries or previous work of great minds that have come before. Though this is indeed an exciting discovery toward curing cancer, I am but a dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants. If I have been able to make any kind of success in this field, it is only because I am a dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants who paved the way ahead of me. That scientist is so arrogant, with zero awareness that he's just a dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants who came before him in the field of X-ray crystallography.
See also: giant, of, on, shoulder, standing

awaken a sleeping giant

To rouse, provoke, or galvanize the enormous or unstoppable latent power of some person, group, or thing. The political candidate has captured the attention and enthusiasm of young people from many different demographics, awakening a sleeping giant among voters. The country may be neutral, but they have an immense standing army. I fear we may awaken a sleeping giant if we initiate an attack against them.
See also: awaken, giant, sleep

battle of the giants

A conflict or competition between two or more powerful people, groups, or entities. Those are the two best teams in the league this year, so the championship game will really be a battle of the giants.
See also: battle, giant, of

gentle giant

Someone who is very large and strong but has a quiet and gentle nature. At first, I was afraid of the big, burly man covered in tattoos, but when I saw him rescue that kitten from the tree, I realized he was just a gentle giant.
See also: gentle, giant

mental giant

An extremely intelligent person. Typically used sarcastically. Some mental giant thought it would be a good idea to connect the wires in reverse order. It doesn't take a mental giant to realize that this will be bad for business.
See also: giant, mental

on the shoulders of giants

Having the discoveries or bodies of work of great minds that have come before as a basis for one's own discoveries, insights, or progress. Though this is indeed an exciting discovery toward curing cancer, we have stood on the shoulders of giants to reach this point today. If I have been able to make any kind of success in this field, it is only because I have been carried on the shoulders of giants who paved the way ahead of me.
See also: giant, of, on, shoulder

one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

cliché A phrase typically said in reference to a breakthrough or advancement of some kind. Astronaut Neil Armstrong famously said the phrase in 1969 when he became the first person to set foot on the moon (though he later clarified that he said "one small step for a man"). I think the self-driving car will be one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. When we find a cure for this illness, it will be one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
See also: for, giant, leap, mankind, one, small, step

sleeping giant

A country that is not currently very powerful or influential but has the potential to be due to its size, population, resources, military, etc. It is still not a major economic player at the moment, but with its huge population and rapidly expanding technological infrastructure, many see it as something of a sleeping giant. I fear we may wake a sleeping giant if we initiate an attack against the country.
See also: giant, sleep

stand on the shoulders of giants

To make discoveries, insights, or progress owing to the discoveries or previous work of great minds that have come before. Though this is indeed an exciting discovery toward curing cancer, we have stood on the shoulders of giants to reach this point today.
See also: giant, of, on, shoulder, stand
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

sleeping giant

a great power that is still and waiting. The huge country to the south is a sleeping giant, waiting for its chance to become sufficiently industrialized to have real prosperity. The U.S. was a sleeping giant at the outbreak of both world wars.
See also: giant, sleep
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

battle of the giants

a contest between two pre-eminent parties.
This expression may be a reference to the battle between the giants and gods in Greek mythology.
See also: battle, giant, of
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

mental giant

n. a genius. I’m no mental giant, but I do know trouble when I see it.
See also: giant, mental
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in classic literature ?
"Who hath dared to wound thee?" cried the Giant; "tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him."
"Who art thou?" said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child.
And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, "You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise."
And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.
Sometimes, for a minute or two, the Giant dropped asleep, and snored like the rush of a whirlwind.
When the Pygmy was quite satisfied that his eyes had not deceived him, he scampered, as fast as his legs would carry him, to the Giant's ear, and stooping over its cavity, shouted lustily into it:
Here comes another Giant to have a tussle with you."
There is not a Giant on earth for whom I would take the trouble to get up."
Bestir yourself, you lazy old Giant! Here comes another Giant, as strong as you are, to fight with you."
"Nonsense, nonsense!" growled the sleepy Giant. "I'll have my nap out, come who may."
Still the stranger drew nearer; and now the Pygmies could plainly discern that, if his stature were less lofty than the Giant's, yet his shoulders were even broader.
The strange Giant's club is bigger than your own, his shoulders are the broadest, and we think him the stronger of the two."
"Who are you?" thundered the Giant. "And what do you want in my dominions?"
You are to know, then, that whenever this redoubtable Giant touched the ground, either with his hand, his foot, or any other part of his body, he grew stronger than ever he had been before.
Any other mortal man, except the very one whom Antaeus had now encountered, would have been half frightened to death by the Giant's ferocious aspect and terrible voice.