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in mythology, manlike being of great size and strength. The giant has been the symbol for the expression of certain recurring beliefs in the mythologies of all races. He is universally represented as being a brutish power of nature, lacking the stature of gods and the civilization and cunning of men. Among the myths of such different cultures as the Greeks, the Scandinavians, and the Native Americans of the Great Plains, giants were believed to be the first race of people that inhabited the earth. Two of the most familiar legends concerning giants are those of Jack the Giant Killer and David and Goliath.
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A large highly luminous star that lies above the main sequence on the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. Giants are grouped in luminosity classes II and III (see spectral types) and generally have absolute magnitudes brighter than 0. Despite their great size, they are not necessarily more massive than typical main-sequence stars; they have dense central cores, but their atmospheres are very tenuous – a feature that shows in their spectra.

Giants represent a late phase in stellar evolution, when the central hydrogen supplies have been exhausted and the star is ‘burning’ other nuclei in concentric shells near its core. As these nuclear processes change, the star's size, luminosity, and temperature gradually alter, and it moves about in the giant region and horizontal branch region of the H–R diagram. Most stars cross the instability strip (see pulsating variables) at least once, and are then Cepheid or RR Lyrae variables. In its final stages, a giant becomes rather brighter and moves to the asymptotic giant branch just above the giants on the H–R diagram. Capella and Arcturus are typical examples of giant stars. See also globular cluster (illustration); red giant; supergiant.

Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006

What does it mean when you dream about a giant?

Giants can be good and friendly symbols (e.g., “the jolly Green Giant”) or a fierce and terrifying one (e.g., the “fee fie foe fum” ogre in the story “Jack and the Bean Stalk”). They also symbolize what is outstandingly large and overwhelming in the dreamer’s life, such as a “gigantic” obstacle.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(mining engineering)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. Greek myth any of the large and powerful offspring of Uranus (sky) and Gaea (earth) who rebelled against the Olympian gods but were defeated in battle
2. Pathol a person suffering from gigantism
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005