ivory tower definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
a condition or place, as academia, regarded as isolated or withdrawn from the practical affairs of society
ivory tower definition by American Heritage Dictionary
nounThe American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
A place or attitude of retreat, especially preoccupation with lofty, remote, or intellectual considerations rather than practical everyday life.
Origin: Translation of French tour d'ivoire : tour, tower + de, of + ivoire, ivory.
ivory tower - Phrases/Idioms
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.