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.]
(click for a larger image)
(click for a larger image)elephant
top: African bush elephant
bottom: Asian elephant
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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