a place or situation remote from worldly or practical affairs: the university as an ivory tower.
an attitude of aloofness from or disdain or disregard for worldly or practical affairs: his ivory tower of complacency.
- i·vo·ry-tow·ered, i·vo·ry-tow·er·ish, adjective
- i·vo·ry-tow·er·ism, i·vo·rytow·er·ish·ness, noun
- i·vo·ry-tow·er·ist, i·vo·ry-tow·er·ite, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use ivory tower in a sentence
He needs to come down from his ivory tower and listen to people.Amanda Blackhorse Is ‘Confident’ Snyder Will Lose His Redskins Appeal | Robert Silverman | June 25, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The review in question is “A Tocqueville for Today,” written by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, two ivory tower heavyweights.Today’s Wonky Elite Is in Love With the Wrong French Intellectual | James Poulos | April 23, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Convincing the ivory tower decision-makers may take quite an effort if they choose to share TV revenues.Why the Future of College Sports Is to Become Corporations | Evan Weiner | April 5, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Our paralysis amidst this paradox is not helped by the way it has taken hold inside the ivory tower itself.
He takes on higher education in his new documentary, ivory tower, which premiered at Sundance.The Price of College Has Increased 1120 Percent Since 1978, So Is It Worth It? | Andrew Rossi | January 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The vein holds from beginning to end of his work; from this writing of the eighties to "The ivory tower."Instigations | Ezra Pound
"The ivory tower," full of accumulated perceptions, swift illuminating phrases, perhaps part of a masterpiece.Instigations | Ezra Pound
He sought a refuge from his sufferings in his own ivory tower; these sufferings themselves were to him a source of observations.Life of Elie Metchnikoff, 1845-1916 | Olga Metchnikoff
Our only refuge was the ivory tower of the poets whither we climbed higher and higher to escape the crowd.Sylvie: souvenirs du Valois | Grard de Nerval
All life has streamed into your soul, and you have lived in the ivory tower.The Goose Man | Jacob Wassermann
British Dictionary definitions for ivory tower
seclusion or remoteness of attitude regarding real problems, everyday life, etc
(as modifier): ivory-tower aestheticism
- ivory-towered, adjective
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with ivory tower
A place or attitude of retreat, remoteness from everyday affairs, as in What does the professor know about student life, living as he does in an ivory tower? This term is a translation of the French tour d'ivoire, which the critic Saint-Beuve used to describe the attitude of poet Alfred de Vigny in 1837. It is used most often in reference to intellectuals and artists who remain complacently aloof.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.