white elephant


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white elephant

n.
1. A rare whitish or light-gray form of the Asian elephant, often considered sacred in parts of South and Southeast Asia.
2. A possession that provides few benefits and is an inconvenience or a financial burden to maintain.

[Sense 2, in reference to a story that when the kings of Siam wished to ruin an offending courtier, they would give him a white elephant, which the courtier then had to maintain at great expense.]
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.

white elephant

n
1. (Animals) a rare albino or pale grey variety of the Indian elephant, regarded as sacred in parts of S Asia
2. a possession that is unwanted by its owner
3. an elaborate venture, construction, etc, that proves useless
4. a rare or valuable possession the upkeep of which is very expensive
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

white′ el′ephant


n.
1. a possession unwanted by the owner but difficult to dispose of.
2. a possession entailing great expense out of proportion to its value to the owner.
3. an albino Indian elephant.
[1850–55; from the tale that the King of Siam would award a disagreeable courtier a white elephant, the upkeep of which would ruin the courtier]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

white elephant

- The name of this animal, which has an enormous appetite, has come to mean "useless, expensive possession"—or a possession that is more trouble than it is worth.
See also related terms for possession.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.white elephant - a valuable possession whose upkeep is excessively expensive
possession - anything owned or possessed
2.white elephant - albinic Indian elephant; rare and sometimes venerated in east Asia
Elephas maximus, Indian elephant - Asian elephant having smaller ears and tusks primarily in the male
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Translations
غَرَض غَيْر مُفيد وكَثير التَّكاليف
hvid elefant
éléphant blanc
gagnslítil eign
bir işe yaramayan eşya

white elephant

n (fam) → cattedrale f nel deserto
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995

white

(wait) adjective
1. of the colour of the paper on which these words are printed. The bride wore a white dress.
2. having light-coloured skin, through being of European etc descent. the first white man to explore Africa.
3. abnormally pale, because of fear, illness etc. He went white with shock.
4. with milk in it. A white coffee, please.
noun
1. the colour of the paper on which these words are printed. White and black are opposites.
2. a white-skinned person. racial trouble between blacks and whites.
3. (also ˈegg-white) the clear fluid in an egg, surrounding the yolk. This recipe tells you to separate the yolks from the whites.
4. (of an eye) the white part surrounding the pupil and iris. The whites of her eyes are bloodshot.
ˈwhiten verb
to make or become white or whiter. She used a little bleach to whiten the sheets.
ˈwhiteness noun
ˈwhitening noun
a substance used to make certain things (eg tennis shoes) white again.
ˈwhitish adjective
fairly white; close to white.
ˌwhite-ˈcollar adjective
(of workers, jobs etc) not manual; (working) in an office etc.
white elephant
a useless, unwanted possession.
white horse noun
(usually in plural) a wave that has a crest of white foam.
ˌwhite-ˈhot adjective
(of metals) so hot that they have turned white. a white-hot poker.
white lie
a not very serious lie. I'd rather tell my mother a white lie than tell her the truth and upset her.
ˈwhitewash noun
a mixture of usually lime and water, used for whitening walls.
verb
to cover with whitewash.
ˈwhitewashed adjective
white winewine
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
All down the line I had kept an eye for suspicious characters with an eye upon me; but even my self-consciousness failed to discover one; and I reached my haven of peace, and of fresh fell air, feeling, I suppose, much like any other fool who has spent his money upon a white elephant.
He ran his finger over them, and when he came to Siam he contemplated with great attention the red field and the white elephant. Nothing could be more simple; but to make sure he brought the book out on the bridge for the purpose of comparing the coloured drawing with the real thing at the flagstaff astern.
And I will not say what my first act was when I found myself alone with my white elephant in the middle of the room; enough that the siphon was still doing its work when the glass slipped through my fingers to the floor.
"Where is it you are off to, and why are you taking this herd of white elephants with you?"
Then, follow white elephants caparisoned in countless gorgeous colours, and infinite in number and attendants.
Yet I counted less than six MPs out of 650 debating this costly white elephant in the Commons on January 23.
For their part, Labour, in 2009, said of the showpiece tourist information centre: "We were always concerned we would be left with an expensive white elephant."
Tipton-born UKIP MEP Mike Nattrass, a member of the EU's transport and tourism committee, called on the Government to buy the route and said it was time to put the "costly white elephant out of its misery".
It's causing many people to shed a tear Why not greet it with hope, not fear At the opening hundreds will come to sneer And hundreds will follow later to cat call and jeer Those crowds will visit pubs to buy loads of beer Those crowds will visit shops for all types of gear And shop owners will be glad the vertical is here Glad of these people from far and near White elephant or not, the answer is not yet clear DAVID SIMS, Normanby
In fact now The Dome, owned by Anschutz and apparently Prescott's pet project (a white elephant for a white elephant), is 6-4 joint-jolly with Blackpool to stage the new Super- Casino.
BUILDING a civic hall from scratch in Coventry city centre could easily become a "white elephant", a campaigner has warned.
Opponents of a regional assembly spent weeks convincing voters the North-East did not want an expensive white elephant.