A mother elephant and her baby.
- An example of an elephant is the big animal at the zoo with a trunk.
- An example of an elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party.
nounpl. -·phants or -·phant
Origin of elephantMiddle English elefaunt from Classical Latin elephantus from Classical Greek elephas (gen. elephantos), elephant, ivory from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Berber elu, elephant + Egyptian ?bw, elephant, ivory
elephant in the room
- 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.
- Any of various extinct animals of the family Elephantidae.
Origin of elephantMiddle English elefaunt from Old French olifant from Vulgar Latin olifantus from Latin elephantus from Greek elephās elephant-
top: African bush elephant
bottom: Asian elephant
- A mammal of the order Proboscidea, having a trunk, and two large ivory tusks jutting from the upper jaw.
- (figuratively) Anything huge and ponderous.
- (paper, printing) A printing-paper size measuring 30 inches x 22 inches.
- (UK, childish) used when counting to add length.
- Let's play hide and seek. I'll count. One elephant, two elephant, three elephant...
terms related to the noun elephant
Middle English elefant, elefaunt, from Old French elefant, elefan, olifant, re-latinized in Middle French as elephant, from Latin elephantus, from Ancient Greek ἐλέφας (eléphās) (gen. ἐλέφαντος (eléphantos)). Believed to be derived from an Afro-Asiatic form such as Proto-Berber *eḷu (“elephant”) (compare Tamahaq (Tahaggart) êlu, (Ghat) alu) or Egyptian (ȝbw) (ābu) ‘elephant; ivory’. More at ivory. Replaced Middle English olifant, which replaced Old English elpend, olfend.