See under elephant(def 1).
Origin of African elephant
First recorded in 1945–50
Definition for african elephant (2 of 2)
[ el-uh-fuh nt ]
/ ˈɛl ə fənt /
noun, plural el·e·phants, (especially collectively) el·e·phant for 1.
either of two large, five-toed pachyderms of the family Elephantidae, characterized by a long, prehensile trunk formed of the nose and upper lip, including Loxodonta africana (African elephant), with enormous flapping ears, two fingerlike projections at the end of the trunk, and ivory tusks, and Elephas maximus (Indian elephant), with smaller ears, one projection at the end of the trunk, and ivory tusks almost exclusively in males: L. africana is threatened; E. maximus is endangered.
a representation of this animal, used in the U.S. since 1874 as the emblem of the Republican Party.
Chiefly British. a size of drawing or writing paper, 23 × 28 inches (58 × 71 cm).
Origin of elephant
1250–1300; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin elephantus < Greek elephant- (stem of eléphās) elephant; replacing Middle English olifaunt < Anglo-French < Vulgar Latin *olifantus, for Latin elephantus (with regular Latin o from e before dark l)
Related formsel·e·phan·toid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for african elephant
/ (ˈɛlɪfənt) /
noun plural -phants or -phant
either of the two proboscidean mammals of the family Elephantidae . The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the larger species, with large flapping ears and a less humped back than the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus), of S and SE Asia
mainly British a size of writing paper, 23 by 28 inches
elephant in the room an obvious truth deliberately ignored by all parties in a situation
Derived Formselephantoid, adjective
Word Origin for elephant
C13: from Latin elephantus, from Greek elephas elephant, ivory, of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Culture definitions for african elephant
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with african elephant
see see the elephant; white elephant.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.