ivory tower


noun

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.

QUIZZES

CHALLENGE YOURSELF WITH THIS MIDDLE SCHOOL PART OF SPEECH QUIZ!

How well do you know your adjectives from your adverbs? Your preposition from your pronouns? Your interjections from your conjunctions? Let’s put your knowledge of parts of speech to the text! Note: Many of the following questions will ask you to identify the parts of speech “in order.” That means the first word in all capital letters will correspond to the first option in an answer, and so on.
Question 1 of 10
In order, what parts of speech are the words in all capital letters? Alisa was VERY tired, SO she decided to go to bed.

Origin of ivory tower

translation of French tour d'ivoire, phrase used by C.A. Sainte-Beuve in reference to the isolated life of the poet A. de Vigny (1837)

OTHER WORDS FROM ivory tower

i·vo·ry-tow·ered, i·vo·ry-tow·er·ish, adjectivei·vo·ry-tow·er·ism, i·vo·rytow·er·ish·ness, nouni·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. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for ivory tower

ivory tower
/ (ˈtaʊə) /

noun

  1. seclusion or remoteness of attitude regarding real problems, everyday life, etc
  2. (as modifier)ivory-tower aestheticism

Derived forms of ivory tower

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

Idioms and Phrases with ivory tower

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.