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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
white elephant
▪ When the theatre first opened it was widely regarded as a white elephant.
▪ And Marko went with them, riding on the largest elephant.
▪ Saracen ambassadors bring Charlemagne a white elephant complete with exotic trappings.
▪ What do you do with a huge white elephant like that?
▪ More spaces are needed at less cost not another white elephant office block.
▪ In the simplest I found that many owners saw their houses as white elephants.
▪ Its victims are usually poor folk made poorer by the white elephants their leaders have inflicted on them.
▪ Cake and white elephant stalls plus a grand prize draw.
▪ There's this picturesque white elephant development on the Costa del Sol, apparently going for a song.
▪ This was defeated by panthers who ate the foals, and by wild elephants on whose walk the buildings were sited.
▪ It is almost as if they had never been wild elephants - but only the day before yesterday, they were.
▪ These captives may even have been used to lure and help catch wild elephants of which there were then a great number.
▪ Today, though trapping still goes on, it is disappearing because there are not enough wild elephants to justify it.
▪ The young elephants threatened to flounder to a halt, and with them the flow of life-blood to Verdun.
▪ In the confusion and stampede that is bound to occur, the young elephants may easily get trampled or crushed.
▪ Like so many baby mammals, young elephants spend a great deal of their time playing.
▪ She felt about as poised as a baby elephant taking his first steps, she thought miserably.
▪ Daphne discovered for instance, that baby elephants were unresponsive to many types of milk.
▪ Daphne says that many baby elephants arrive at the sanctuary in shock, having seen their entire extended family hacked to death.
▪ He frowned and turned away, staring into a tall clump of elephant grass by the side of the track.
▪ My unit was in a large field covered mostly with elephant grass.
▪ When I hit the elephant grass, I just kept going.
▪ That elephant grass must have been 5 or 6 feet tall.
▪ The valley from the hill to the massif was all flat plains covered with elephant grass.
▪ Deep-blue skies blazed over the shrub-covered hills and valleys of elephant grass.
▪ I was out on the flank with my platoon, and to my right was some high elephant grass.
▪ It was the only way a dead man could be found in the tall elephant grass.
▪ And as the elephant population falls, so the price of ivory rises.
▪ In autumn the elephant seals haul out to moult.
▪ Given that male albatrosses have the same genetic incentives as male elephant seals, why do they behave so differently?
▪ Few infant mammals grow as quickly as an elephant seal pup.
▪ Thus, bull elephant seals and red deer stags are big, armed, and dangerous.
▪ For new moves on saving the elephant, see pages 6 and 7.
▪ Daphne has laboured for years to save the elephant, as dedicated to her task as was Dian Fossey to her gorillas.
▪ Archaeologists divide the early inhabitants into elephant hunters and bison hunters.
▪ Each elephant is caparisoned in glittering gold, red, silver or blue cloth, studded with brilliants and lit with lamps.
▪ He rode on an elephant and on the Ferris wheel, taking only Amelia with him.
▪ His agents within the Imperial army managed to assassinate three of Dara's generals as they sat exposed on their elephants.
▪ It looked like a place where the elephants came to die.
▪ The explosions started as soon as the last elephant had shuffled out of sight.
▪ These countries are able to practise open trading because their elephant herds are now big enough to demand regular culling.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

pachyderm \pach"y*derm\ (p[a^]k"[i^]*d[~e]rm), n. [Cf. F. pachyderme.] (Zo["o]l.) Any of various nonruminant hoofed mammals having very thick skin, including the elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, one of the Pachydermata.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1300, olyfaunt, from Old French olifant (12c., Modern French éléphant), from Latin elephantus, from Greek elephas (genitive elephantos) "elephant; ivory," probably from a non-Indo-European language, likely via Phoenician (compare Hamitic elu "elephant," source of the word for it in many Semitic languages, or possibly from Sanskrit ibhah "elephant").\n

\nRe-spelled after 1550 on Latin model. Cognate with the common term for the animal in Romanic and Germanic; Slavic words (for example Polish slon', Russian slonu are from a different word. Old English had it as elpend, and compare elpendban, elpentoð "ivory," but a confusion of exotic animals led to olfend "camel."\n

\nAs 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. The elephant joke was popular 1960s-70s.


n. 1 A mammal of the order ''Proboscidea'', having a trunk, and two large ivory tusks jutting from the upper jaw. 2 (context figuratively English) Anything huge and ponderous. 3 (context paper printing English) A printing-paper size measuring 30 inches x 22 inches. 4 (context British childish English) used when counting to add length, so that each count takes about one second. 5 (context obsolete English) ivory

  1. n. five-toed pachyderm

  2. the symbol of the Republican Party; introduced in cartoons by Thomas Nast in 1874

Elephant (disambiguation)

The elephant is a large, grey mammal native to Africa and southern Asia.

Elephant may also refer to:

Elephant (stories)

Elephant is a collection of short stories by American writer Raymond Carver published in Great Britain, 1988. The stories in the collection were first published in the U.S. in Where I'm Calling From: New & Selected Stories (1988).


Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Two species are traditionally recognised, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), although some evidence suggests that African bush elephants and African forest elephants are separate species (L. africana and L. cyclotis respectively). Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephantidae is the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea; other, now extinct, members of the order include deinotheres, gomphotheres, mammoths, and mastodons. Male African elephants are the largest extant terrestrial animals and can reach a height of and weigh . All elephants have several distinctive features, the most notable of which is a long trunk or proboscis, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water and grasping objects. Their incisors grow into tusks, which can serve as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Elephants' large ear flaps help to control their body temperature. Their pillar-like legs can carry their great weight. African elephants have larger ears and concave backs while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or level backs.

Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts and marshes. They prefer to stay near water. They are considered to be keystone species due to their impact on their environments. Other animals tend to keep their distance where predators such as lions, tigers, hyenas, and wild dogs usually target only the young elephants (or "calves"). Females ("cows") tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The groups are led by an individual known as the matriarch, often the oldest cow. Elephants have a fission–fusion society in which multiple family groups come together to socialise. Males ("bulls") leave their family groups when they reach puberty, and may live alone or with other males. Adult bulls mostly interact with family groups when looking for a mate and enter a state of increased testosterone and aggression known as musth, which helps them gain dominance and reproductive success. Calves are the centre of attention in their family groups and rely on their mothers for as long as three years. Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. They communicate by touch, sight, smell and sound; elephants use infrasound, and seismic communication over long distances. Elephant intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans. They appear to have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind.

African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), while the Asian elephant is classed as endangered. One of the biggest threats to elephant populations is the ivory trade, as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Other threats to wild elephants include habitat destruction and conflicts with local people. Elephants are used as working animals in Asia. In the past they were used in war; today, they are often controversially put on display in zoos, or exploited for entertainment in circuses. Elephants are highly recognisable and have been featured in art, folklore, religion, literature and popular culture.

Elephant (Tame Impala song)

"Elephant" is a song by Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala. It was released as a single from their second album Lonerism on 26 July 2012.

Elephant (pharaoh)

Elephant (maybe read as Pen-abw) is the provisional name of a predynastic ruler. But since the incarved rock inscriptions and ivory tags showing his name are either drawn sloppily, or lacking any royal crest, the reading and thus whole existence of king "Elephant" are highly disputed.

Elephant (typeface)

Elephant is an ultra-bold serif typeface intended for display use, designed as a digital font by British font designer Matthew Carter. Elephant is a 'fat face' design, inspired by fonts intended for use for posters developed by Vincent Figgins in London in the early nineteenth century.

Carter created both a roman or regular style, and an italic; as an already bold design it does not have a bold style. Carter based Elephant on fonts in Figgins' 1815 and 1817 specimen books.

Elephant (2003 film)

Elephant is a 2003 drama film edited, written and directed by Gus Van Sant. It takes place in the fictional Watt High School, in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, and chronicles the events surrounding a school shooting, based in part on the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. The film begins a short time before the shooting occurs, following the lives of several characters both in and out of school, who are unaware of what is about to unfold. The film stars mostly new or non-professional actors, including John Robinson, Alex Frost, and Eric Deulen.

Elephant is the second film in Van Sant's " Death Trilogy" — the first is Gerry (2002) and the third Last Days (2005) — all three of which are based on actual events.

Elephant was generally acclaimed by critics and received the Palme d'Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, in which Patrice Chéreau was the head of the jury. As the first high-profile movie to depict a high school shooting since Columbine, the film was controversial for its subject matter and possible influence on teenage copy-cats.

Elephant (album)

Elephant is the fourth album by the American alternative rock duo The White Stripes. Released on April 1, 2003 on V2 Records, its release garnered near unanimous critical acclaim and commercial success, garnering a nomination for Album of the Year and a win for Best Alternative Music Album at the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004, peaking at No. 6 in the US Billboard charts and topping the UK album charts.

In later years the album has often been cited as the White Stripes' best work and one of the best albums of the 2000s; Rolling Stone magazine ranked it 390th on its list of " The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and later, the fifth-best of the decade. Third Man Records released a limited edition red, black and white vinyl reissue of "Elephant" on April 20, 2013, in celebration of the album's 10-year anniversary, as a Record Store Day exclusive.

Elephant (public information film)

Elephant is the title of a British public information film about the importance of wearing a seatbelt in the rear of a car. It was first broadcast in 1993 and continued until 1998, when it was replaced by the Julie campaign.

The film, shot entirely in black and white (save for a streak of red in the closing shot), shows four friends driving along an ordinary street. The driver and the passenger sitting behind him are not wearing their seatbelts. When the car crashes into another vehicle ahead, computer imagery shows the unrestrained back seat passenger morphing into an elephant to demonstrate that in a collision at 30 miles per hour, a passenger not wearing a seatbelt can be thrown forward at the force of 3 and a half tons, equivalent to an elephant charging directly at the person in front. The weight of the "elephant" forces the driver through the windscreen, and the front seat passenger gapes in horror as the camera closes in on the driver's body and the wreckage of the car.

This was the last public information film about seatbelts to use the Clunk Click Every Trip slogan, here abbreviated to an onomatopoeic "Clunk Click" appearing in time with the soundtrack.

Elephant (science book)

Elephant is a 1964 science book by L. Sprague de Camp, published by Pyramid Books as part of The Worlds of Science series.

The book treats its subject comprehensively, covering elephants in captivity and the wild, their use in ancient warfare, modern conflicts between elephants and farmers, and preservation efforts, among other topics. It is "[d]esigned for the general reader and student, about the various aspects of the world's largest land animal, from fossils to captive elephants."

While a decent study, the book is important more for its insight into the mind of the author than in its own right, elephants being a lifelong interest of de Camp's that figures in many of his other literary works. In his early time travel novel Lest Darkness Fall his protagonist Martin Padway pens a similar monograph, while in his historical novel An Elephant for Aristotle details the difficulties in transporting an elephant from India to Greece during ancient times. De Camp also wrote a number of articles about elephants, a few of which appeared, together with a chapter selected from the present work, in his later collection The Fringe of the Unknown (1983).

Elephant (1989 film)

Elephant is a 1989 British short film directed by Alan Clarke and produced by Danny Boyle. The film is set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and its title comes from Bernard MacLaverty's description of the conflict as " the elephant in our living room" — a reference to the collective denial of the underlying social problems of Northern Ireland. Produced by BBC Northern Ireland, it first screened on BBC2 in 1989. The film was first conceived by Boyle, who was working as a producer for BBC Northern Ireland at the time.

The film, which contains very little dialogue, depicts eighteen murders and is partly based on actual events drawn from police reports at the time. It is shot with 16mm film with much of it filmed using a steadicam and features a series of tracking shots, a technique the director used regularly. The grainy 16mm film, together with the lack of dialogue, plot, narrative and music give the film a cold, observational documentary feel. Nothing is learnt about any of the gunmen or victims. Each of the murders are carried out calmly and casually; in one scene the gunman is seen to drive away slowly, even stopping to give way for traffic. The victims are shown for several seconds in a static shot of the body.

As with several of Clarke's films, "Elephant" received high praise and attracted controversy. After watching the film, Clarke's contemporary David Leland wrote: "I remember lying in bed, watching it, thinking, 'Stop, Alan, you can't keep doing this.' And the cumulative effect is that you say, 'It's got to stop. The killing has got to stop.' Instinctively, without an intellectual process, it becomes a gut reaction."

The film is a clear influence on Gus Van Sant's 2003 film Elephant, based on the Columbine High School Massacre. Van Sant's film borrowed not only Clarke's title, but also closely mirrors his minimalist style.

Elephant (Alexandra Burke song)

"Elephant" is a song by British singer Alexandra Burke from her second studio album Heartbreak on Hold (2012). It features Colombian-American DJ Erick Morillo, who co-wrote the song with Burke, Brittany Burton, Josh Wilkinson, Harry Romero, and Jose Nuñez. The song was produced by Morillo, Romero and Nuñez under their stage name Sympho Nympho, and Mike Spencer. It was released in the United Kingdom on 11 March 2012 as the album's lead single. The song was released as Burke's debut single in the United States on 13 March 2012.

"Elephant" was met with mixed reviews from critics, some of whom criticised the song's production and the use of Auto-Tune. It debuted at number seven in Ireland and at number three in the UK, becoming Burke's sixth top 10 hit in both countries.

Usage examples of "elephant".

Stegodon is a type of extinct elephant, and Ailuropoda is the giant panda.

Now two elephants joined the procession, and the animals and man and woman ran around the rings and passed the lumbering ankylosaur twice.

When the ashcans burst, it was like a kick in the ass from an elephant.

After a delay of a day or two, to rest the animals, which included sixty-seven elephants which had been brought from Bengal, the army set out for Bangalore, the second largest town in Mysore.

Jewels Androclus and the Lion Horatius at the Bridge Julius Caesar The Sword of Damocles Damon and Pythias A Laconic Answer The Ungrateful Guest Alexander and Bucephalus Diogenes the Wise Man The Brave Three Hundred Socrates and his House The King and his Hawk Doctor Goldsmith The Kingdoms The Barmecide Feast The Endless Tale The Blind Men and the Elephant Maximilian and the Goose Boy The Inchcape Rock Whittington and his Cat Casabianca Antonio Canova Picciola Mignon CONCERNING THESE STORIES.

I saw Bharata Rahon suddenly stab you and then throw you from the howdah of your elephant.

I have hastened to you to ask for men and elephants wherewith I may pursue Bharata Rahon and save Fou-tan from his treachery.

Bala Bhat, was wounded in the battle, and it is said that his general of cavalry, Teeka Singh, had his elephant killed under him.

With this rifle he had killed leopards, lions, rhinos, buffalos, elephants by the hundred-and men, many men, in the days of the Rhodesian bush war.

Down in the jungles of Champa, he said, where the elephants came from, there were such things as white elephants.

Everywhere in Champa, she said, a bull elephant of sixty years was taken to represent the very peak of strength, virility and masculine powers.

I looked ahead and saw nothing but a herd of chimpanzoids, playfully cavorting inside a plastiflesh carcass of an elephant.

So in the day of Neela Deo, most exalted King of all elephants, came a runner at the end of his last strength.

So the people of Hurda went out to meet Neela Deo, King of all elephants.

Now the people saw that this celebration for Neela Deo, King of all elephants, was to show as much pomp as is prepared for kings of men--and they were deeply content.