elephant in the room

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elephant in the room

a major problem or controversial issue that is present but is ignored or not discussed because it is uncomfortable to do so
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


1. Any of several very large herbivorous mammals of the family Elephantidae native to Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, having thick, almost hairless skin, a long, flexible, prehensile trunk, upper incisors forming long curved tusks of ivory, and, in the African species, large fan-shaped ears.
2. Any of various extinct animals of the family Elephantidae.
elephant in the room
A matter or problem that is obvious or of great importance but that is not discussed openly.

[Middle English elefaunt, from Old French elefant, from Latin elephantus, from Greek elephās, elephant-, ivory, elephant, probably of Afro-Asiatic origin; akin to Tawllemet (Berber language of Mali) eləw and Mokilko (Chadic language of central Chad) 'êlbi, elephant, and possibly also to Egyptian 3bw, elephant, ivory, and Oromo arba, elephant.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
THERE'S an elephant in the room! A Drunk Elephant, actually.
Recognising the importance of encouraging patients and their loved ones to communicate early in the patient's journey and throughout the illness, charitable organisation Hospis Malaysia has started a campaign called Speak Up - There is an Elephant in the Room.
30 March 2017 - Southeastern, US-based graphic design firms Elephant In The Room and Shapiro|Walker have merged.
David Barrow, winner of the 2015 Sebastian Walker Award for most promising children's illustrator, brings new life to the question of outing the "elephant in the room."
"It is the elephant in the room," said Garry Merkel, chief executive officer of the Tahltan Nation Development Corp.
THERE will be an elephant in the room when the last Top Gear show to feature presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond is aired tomorrow - and he's called Jeremy.
The New York grand jury's findings regarding the treatment of Eric Garner, the case of Trayvon Martin, along with the unorthodox military confrontation of Ferguson, Missouri, protesters exercising First Amendment rights, suggest the amplification of race and racism is a rampant elephant in the room.
The only "elephant in the room" on the set of Egyptian actor Karim Abdel Aziz 's new film "Al Feel Al Azraq" (The Blue Elephant) is a blue one!
Having at times claimed that ethnomusicology asks music's most fundamental questions, I must also suggest that when music lovers make generalizations about the world of music and musicianship, the issues emanating from ethnomusicological insights are often the "elephant in the room'".
I want to share with you some thoughts I had about a recent book with a catchy title written by Diana McLain Smith: Elephant in the Room: How Relationships Make or Break the Success of Leaders and Organizations.
SMITH, Lane The Big Elephant in the Room Disney Hyperion, 2009 unpaged $24.99 ISBN 9781423116677 SCIS 1469161