A large amphitheater in Rome whose construction was begun by Vespasian about AD 75 or 80
I'm sorry if I have a lot of Roman-related words on here but I was first introduced to the notion that words have a history by my 9th grade Latin teacher. One of those words was Colosseum. Of course, the Colosseum as it is know, was not the original name for the building of a thousand screams; it was called the Flavian Amphitheatre, after the family who built it.
But along came Emperor Nero, second of the 'Mad Emperors' and president of his local Red Headed Devil club. He may have fiddled while Rome burned but before that he found the time to erect a huge statue of himself right outside the Flavian Amphitheatre. The statue was so big, so opulent that the roman citizens compared it to the Colossus of Rhodes. That statue, being about the size of The Statue of Liberty and straddling the entrance to Rhodes' harbor was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Nero's statue was by no means equal in size or glory but, since Nero was pretty much hated by the people, they mockingly called his statue the Colossus. The building next door eventually become known as the Colosseum and has been ever since.
Interestingly, only the Colosseum in Rome is called the Colosseum. But what about where the Hartford Whalers used to play? I was just getting to that. The term Colosseum was so popular as a name for a huge sports/entertainment complex other structures began adopting it but with one important difference: they never spell the word the same way as the original. The Whalers played in the Hartford Coliseum, not Colosseum. Man, I really miss the Whalers.