Gargantuan

Enormous, inordinate, great beyond all limits. It needed 900 ells of Châtelleraut linen to make the body of his shirt, and 200 more for the gussets; for his shoes 406 ells of blue and crimson velvet were required, and 1,100 cow-hides for the soles. He could play 207 different games, picked his teeth with an elephant's tusk, and did everything in the same “large way.”

“It sounded like a Gargantuan order for a dram.” —The Standard.

A Gargantuan course of studies. A course including all languages, as well ancient as modern, all the sciences, all the -ologies and -onomies, together with calisthenics and athletic sports. Gargantua wrote to his son Pantagruel, commanding him to learn Greek, Latin, Chaldaic, Arabic; all history, geometry, arithmetic, and music; astronomy and natural philosophy, so that “there be not a river in all the world thou dost not know the name of, and nature of all its fishes; all the fowls of the air; all the several kinds of shrubs and herbs; all the metals hid in the bowels of the earth; with all gems and precious stones. I would furthermore have thee study the Talmudists and Cabalists, and get a perfect knowledge of man. In brief, I would have thee a bottomless pit of all knowledge.” (Rabelais: Pantagruel, book ii. 8.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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