- 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.
- white elephant.
- Chiefly British. a size of drawing or writing paper, 23 × 28 inches (58 × 71 cm).
Origin of elephant
Examples from the Web for elephant
Marcel the elephant takes readers on a journey through his life, recounting his memories full of travel and adventure.The Daily Beast’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide: For the Blue Ivy in Your Life
November 29, 2014
The gentle, erudite soul within a body the public considered an oddity is the contrast at the heart of “The Elephant Man.”The True Story of ‘The Elephant Man’
November 3, 2014
Which brings us to the elephant in the room—the rapacious advance of online bookselling, personified by Amazon.Amazon Won’t Kill the Indie Bookstore
July 30, 2014
So I felt, great, I went to James Bond and he said no, so I can now go to the doctor from The Elephant Man.Jonathan Demme on Gaza, Transphobia in ‘The Silence of the Lambs,’ and Meryl Streep as a Rock Star
July 25, 2014
The blood ivory trade caters to a small but hungry segment in China, yet grassroots efforts for elephant conservation do exist.China’s Blood Ivory Bazaar
June 30, 2014
These attack you—but run—at least the tiger, not the elephant, when you go out after him.
He will never fly at your elephant, or climb a tree, or take to the water after you!
New-Haven enjoys an elephant that has corns, and is about to be operated on by a chiropodist.
People have so much to say about an ant's strength, and an elephant's, and a locomotive's.Tom Sawyer Abroad
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Asked how he knew that an elephant was going on a journey, the illustrious Jo.The Devil's Dictionary
- 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
Word Origin and History for elephant
c.1300, olyfaunt, from Old French oliphant (12c.), from Latin elephantus, from Greek elephas (genitive elephantos) "elephant, ivory," probably from a non-Indo-European language, likely via Phoenician (cf. Hamitic elu "elephant," source of the word for it in many Semitic languages, or possibly from Sanskrit ibhah "elephant").
Re-spelled after 1550 on Latin model. As an emblem of the Republican Party in U.S. politics, 1860. To see the elephant "be acquainted with life, gain knowledge by experience" is an American English colloquialism from 1835.
Idioms and Phrases with elephant
see see the elephant; white elephant.