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elephant

[ el-uh-fuhnt ]
/ ˈɛl ə fənt /
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See synonyms for: elephant / elephants on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural el·e·phants, (especially collectively) el·e·phant for 1.

a very large herbivorous mammal of the family Elephantidae, the only extant family of proboscideans and comprising the genera Loxodonta (African elephants) and Elephus (Asian elephants): elephants of all species are characterized by a long, prehensile trunk formed of the nose and upper lip, pillarlike legs, and prominent tusks, which are possessed by both genders of Loxodonta and just the males of Elephus.See also white elephant (def. 3).
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 centimeters).

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Idioms for elephant

    elephant in the room, a problem or issue that everyone is aware of but that no one wants to talk about: Her dad’s depression has been the elephant in the room at family gatherings.

Origin of elephant

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English (from Anglo-French ), from Latin elephantus, from Greek elephant- (stem of eléphās ) “elephant”; replacing Middle English olifaunt, from Anglo-French, from unattested Vulgar Latin olifantus, for Latin elephantus. The idiom elephant in the room was first recorded in 1935–40
el·e·phan·toid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for elephant

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
elephantoid, adjective
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

Cultural definitions for elephant

elephant

A symbol (see also symbol) of the Republican party, introduced in a series of political cartoons by Thomas Nast during the congressional elections of 1874. (Compare donkey.)

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 elephant

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.
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