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ivory tower

noun
1.
a place or situation remote from worldly or practical affairs:
the university as an ivory tower.
2.
an attitude of aloofness from or disdain or disregard for worldly or practical affairs:
his ivory tower of complacency.
Origin
translation of French tour d'ivoire, phrase used by C.A. Sainte-Beuve in reference to the isolated life of the poet A. de Vigny (1837)
Related forms
ivory-towered, ivory-towerish, adjective
ivory-towerism, ivorytowerishness, noun
ivory-towerist, ivory-towerite, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for ivorytowered

ivory tower

/ˈtaʊə/
noun
1.
  1. seclusion or remoteness of attitude regarding real problems, everyday life, etc
  2. (as modifier): ivory-tower aestheticism
Derived Forms
ivory-towered, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ivorytowered

ivory tower

n.

as a symbol of artistic or intellectual aloofness, by 1889, from French tour d'ivoire, used in 1837 by critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) with reference to the poet Alfred de Vigny, whom he accused of excessive aloofness.

Et Vigny, plus secret, comme en sa tour d'ivoire, avant midi rentrait. [Sainte-Beuve, "Pensées d'Août, à M. Villemain," 1837]
Used earlier as a type of a wonder or a symbol of "the ideal." The literal image is perhaps from Song of Solomon [vii:4]:
Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus. [KJV]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for ivorytowered

ivory tower

noun

A place or attitude of retreat, especially preoccupation with lofty, remote, or intellectual considerations: Come out of that ivory tower


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with ivorytowered

ivory tower

A place or attitude of retreat, remoteness from everyday affairs, as in What does the professor know about student life, living as he does in an ivory tower? This term is a translation of the French tour d'ivoire, which the critic Saint-Beuve used to describe the attitude of poet Alfred de Vigny in 1837. It is used most often in reference to intellectuals and artists who remain complacently aloof.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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