When I read the Detroit Free Press referring to bankrupt General Motors as a “juggernaut” this morning, I rolled my eyes. I thought that the newspaper was describing GM as a company with unstoppable strength.
It turns out, however, that there are two main definitions of the word “juggernaut”. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, they are:
1. Something, such as a belief or institution, that elicits blind and destructive devotion or to which people are ruthlessly sacrificed. 2. An overwhelming, advancing force that crushes or seems to crush everything in its path
To be honest, I have to say that I’ve never run across that first definition in general usage before. When it comes to General Motors, however, I think that definition is certainly apt.