elephant

[ 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)

OTHER WORDS FROM elephant

el·e·phan·toid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for elephants

British Dictionary definitions for elephants (1 of 2)

elephants
/ (ˈɛlɪfənts) /

adjective

Australian slang drunk; intoxicated

Word Origin for elephants

C20: shortened from elephant's trunk, rhyming slang for drunk

British Dictionary definitions for elephants (2 of 2)

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 forms of elephant

elephantoid, 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 elephants

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 elephants

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.