elephant

[el-uh-fuhnt]
noun, plural elephants (especially collectively) elephant for 1.
1.
either of two large, five-toed pachyderms of the family Elephantidae, characterized by a long, prehensile trunk formed of the nose and upper lip, including Loxodonta africana (African elephant) with enormous flapping ears, two fingerlike projections at the end of the trunk, and ivory tusks, and Elephas maximus (Indian elephant) with smaller ears, one projection at the end of the trunk, and ivory tusks almost exclusively in males: L. africana is threatened; E. maximus is endangered.
2.
a representation of this animal, used in the U.S. since 1874 as the emblem of the Republican Party.
4.
Chiefly British. a size of drawing or writing paper, 23 × 28 inches (58 × 71 cm).


Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin elephantus < Greek elephant- (stem of eléphās) elephant; replacing Middle English olifaunt < Anglo-French < Vulgar Latin *olifantus, for Latin elephantus (with regular Latin o from e before dark l)

elephantoid, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
elephant (ˈɛlɪfənt)
 
n , pl -phants, -phant
1.  either of the two proboscidean mammals of the family Elephantidae. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the larger species, with large flapping ears and a less humped back than the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus), of S and SE Asia
2.  chiefly (Brit) a size of writing paper, 23 by 28 inches
3.  elephant in the room an obvious truth deliberately ignored by all parties in a situation
 
[C13: from Latin elephantus, from Greek elephas elephant, ivory, of uncertain origin]
 
'elephantoid
 
adj

elephants (ˈɛlɪfənts)
 
adj
slang (Austral) drunk; intoxicated
 
[C20: shortened from elephant's trunk, rhyming slang for drunk]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

elephant
c.1300, olyfaunt, from O.Fr. oliphant, from L. elephantus, from Gk. elephas (gen. elephantos) "elephant, ivory," probably from a non-I.E. language, likely via Phoenician (cf. Hamitic elu "elephant," source of the word for it in many Sem. languages, or possibly from Skt. ibhah "elephant"). Re-spelled
after 1550 on L. model. As an emblem of the Republican Party in U.S. politics, 1860. White elephant (1851) supposedly arose from the practice of the King of Siam of presenting one of the sacred albino elephants to a courtier who had fallen from favor; the gift was a great honor, but the cost of proper upkeep of one was ruinous. To see the elephant "be acquainted with life, gain knowledge by experience" is an Amer.Eng. colloquialism from 1835.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

elephant definition


A symbol of the Republican party, introduced in a series of political cartoons by Thomas Nast during the congressional elections of 1874. (Compare donkey.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Elephant definition


not found in Scripture except indirectly in the original Greek word (elephantinos) translated "of ivory" in Rev. 18:12, and in the Hebrew word (shenhabim, meaning "elephant's tooth") rendered "ivory" in 1 Kings 10:22 and 2 Chr. 9:21.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences for Elephants
Where human hosts cannot go, they use animals such as dogs, horses and even elephants.
Over one hundred prisoners of war were captured along with around eight war elephants.
Both people and elephants like an alcoholic beverage made from acacia fruit.
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