Encyclopedia > Juggernaut

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The term juggernaut is used to describe any literal or metaphorical force regarded as unstoppable; that will crush all in its path. In Britain, it is also used to refer to any large and heavy lorry. An older meaning is for any institution that incites destructive devotion or to which people are carelessly sacrificed.

The word is derived from a title for the Hindu deity Vishnu avatar Krishna, the Sanskrit jagganath, meaning "lord of the world". The destructive force meaning comes from an accident in which worshipers were crushed under the sixteen wheels of a huge wagon on which the idol of Krishna was drawn in an annual procession in Puri, Orissa.

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