• "The elephant uses his nose as a hand."
    "The elephant uses his nose as a hand."
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n elephant five-toed pachyderm
    • n elephant the symbol of the Republican Party; introduced in cartoons by Thomas Nast in 1874
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

A pair of adult elephants A pair of adult elephants
An adult elephant with long tusks An adult elephant with long tusks

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In 1916, an elephant was tried and hung for murder in Erwin, Tennessee
    • Elephant (Zoöl) A mammal of the order Proboscidia and family Elephantidae, of which two living species, Elephas maximusformerly Elephas Indicus) and Loxodonta Africanaformerly E. Africanus), and several fossil species, are known. They have five toes, a long proboscis or trunk, and two large ivory tusks proceeding from the extremity of the upper jaw, and curving upwards. The molar teeth are large and have transverse folds. Elephants are the largest land animals now existing. The elephant is classed as a pachyderm.
    • Elephant Ivory; the tusk of the elephant.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The trunk of an elephant can hold up to two gallons of water
    • n elephant A five-toed proboscidian mammal, of the genus Elephas, constituting a subfamily, Elephantinæ, and comprehending two living species, namely, Elephas indicus and Elephas (Loxodon) africanus.
    • n elephant The former inhabits India, and is characterized by a concave high forehead, small ears, and comparatively small tusks; the latter is found in Africa, and has a convex forehead, great flapping ears, and large tusks. The tusks occur in both sexes, curving upward from the extremity of the upper jaw. The nose is prolonged into a cylindrical trunk or proboscis, at the extremity of which the nostrils open. The trunk is extremely flexible and highly sensitive, and terminates in a finger-like prehensile lobe. Elephants are the largest quadrupeds at present existing. Their tusks are of great value as ivory, furnishing an important article of commerce, in Africa especially, and occasioning the destruction of great numbers of these animals. Ten species of fossil elephants have been described, of which the best-known is the hairy mammoth, E. primigenius. The mastodons are nearly related to elephants, but form a separate subfamily Mastodontinæ (which see).
    • n elephant Figuratively, a burdensome or perplexing possession or charge; something that one does not know what to do with or how to get rid of: as, to have an elephant on one's hands; he found his great house very much of an elephant.
    • n elephant Ivory; the tusk of the elephant.
    • n elephant A drawing-or writing-paper measuring in America 22x27 inches.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: An elephant has 4 knees
    • n Elephant el′e-fant the largest quadruped, having a very thick skin, a trunk, and two ivory tusks: a special size of paper
    • ***


  • Abraham Lincoln
    “When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run.”
  • Pablo Picasso
    “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Trivial things do matter... more people are killed each year by the bite of mosquitoes than are stepped upon by charging elephants.”
  • Noel Coward
    Noel Coward
    “I have a memory like an elephant. In fact, elephants often consult me.”
  • Georg C. Lichtenberg
    “Be wary of passing the judgment: obscure. To find something obscure poses no difficulty: elephants and poodles find many things obscure.”


Elephant in the room - An elephant in the room is a problem that everyone knows very well but no one talks about because it is taboo, embarrassing, etc.
Memory like an elephant - 'An elephant never forgets' is a saying, so if a person has a memory like an elephant, he or she has a very good memory indeed.
See the elephant - If you see the elephant, you experience much more than you wish to; it is often used when a soldier goes into a warzone for the first time.
White elephant - A white elephant is an expensive burden; something that costs far too much money to run, like the Millennium Dome in the UK.
You can't hide elephants in mouseholes - You can't hide elephants in mouseholes means that some issues/problems/challenges cannot be hidden/concealed but have to be faced and dealt with.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. elefaunt, olifant, OF. olifant, F. éléphant, L. elephantus, elephas, -antis, fr. Gr. 'ele`fas 'ele`fantos; of unknown origin; perh. fr. Skr. ibha, with the Semitic article al, el, prefixed, or fr. Semitic Aleph hindi, Indian bull; or cf. Goth. ulbandus, camel, AS. olfend,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
M. E. olifaunt—O. Fr. olifant—L. elephantum, elephas, -antis—Gr. elephas, acc. to some from Heb. eleph, aleph, an ox.


In literature:

The first, according to the historian Suetonius, who exhibited elephant rope dancers, was Galba at Rome.
"Anecdotes of Animals" by Unknown
That's unknown country, except to the ivory raiders, and they keep their mouths shut; but that's where the elephants are.
"The Rogue Elephant" by Elliott Whitney
The group of elephants is first known to us in the early part of Tertiary time.
"Domesticated Animals" by Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
Naturally, the elephant is a conspicuous feature in most of them.
"An African Adventure" by Isaac F. Marcosson
It was an animal of some kind, and from its vast size Von Bloom and the others at first took it to be an elephant.
"Popular Adventure Tales" by Mayne Reid
He was a white hunter, but he'd never seen a bull elephant before.
"This Crowded Earth" by Robert Bloch
Just beyond the parrot house is a long range of buildings like a large stable, and here are the elephants and other big animals.
"The Children's Book of London" by Geraldine Edith Mitton
As for the elephant, he is a mountain of matter as well as of animal intelligence.
"Heads and Tales" by Various
And elephants she had known, little birds which she had kept in a cage in Natal, and kangaroos.
"The Bill-Toppers" by Andre Castaigne
Imagine a crowd of huge, wrinkled, slow-moving elephant-men getting into a vast elephant omnibus.
"This Simian World" by Clarence Day

In poetry:

Beneath a form vast and uncouth
Such excellence is found:
Sagacious Elephant! thy truth,
Thy kindness is renown'd.
"The Elephant" by William Hayley
The Elephant returns:--O Heaven!
How tender was his air,
Seeing the friend, whose life was given
To his preserving care!
"The Elephant" by William Hayley
Ye, whom a friend's dark perils pain,
When terrors most unnerve him,
Learn from this Elephant to strain
Your sinews to preserve him.
"The Elephant" by William Hayley
A dog, a parrot, a guinea hen,
Warriors, elephants, Indian men,
A salvation army, a grizzly bear,
Are all at once in the nursery there.
"Bedlam Town" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Prince, a precept I'd leave for you,
Coined in Eden, existing yet:
Skirt the parlor, and shun the zoo-
Women and elephants never forget.
"Ballade Of Unfortunate Mammals" by Dorothy Parker
How the old old Balt and the young young Balt
Rode out of Caucaland,
With the royal elephant's trunk on helm
And the royal lance in hand.
"The Song of The Little Baltung: A.D. 395" by Charles Kingsley

In news:

Curious Theatre Branch presents "The Other Side of the Elephant".
The duck, the Birthday Boy, and "the Other Side of the Elephant".
At Germany's Munich Zoo, you can watch the courtship rituals of the banded mongoose, hear the morning song of the scarlet ibis or visit the Indian elephants, who help keep the lights on with electricity generated from their poop.
In September, Putnam will publish Tarra & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends.
An age old treatment for man may be the right remedy for an elephant in Colorado - acupuncture.
In Sumatra and Borneo, palm-oil expansion threatens elephants, tigers and rhinos, as well as orang-utans.
But the parser doesn't know that an elephant can't fit in pajamas.
(FORTUNE Magazine) – IN THE ROTUNDA at New York's Madison Square Garden--where elephants congregate at circus time--a different sort of three-ring affair attracted crowds one recent weekend.
The expedition team named the first male elephant seal they tagged "Koy," which means "sea" in the language of the Selk'nam, the now extinct native people of Patagonia .
"Elephant Butte" by David Ondrik.
Berga, a town in Spain's northeastern Catalonian region, has declared the Spanish king an unwelcome person over his recent elephant hunting trip in Botswana during a severe financial crisis.
If you want to know if an elephant has a stomachache, ask the cage cleaner.
There's a buddhist parable in which several blind men argue about the appearance of an elephant after each has touched a different extremity.
'Madagascar 3' has most fun since pink elephants were on parade.
ROOSTING at the Barnum Museum are 46 of the 435 birds recorded by John James Audubon (1785-1851) for his double elephant-sized folio "Birds of America".

In science:

Nobody is forbidden to call a selfadjoint operator “elephant” and a spectral decomposition “trunk”, which makes it possible to prove a theorem according to which every elephant has a trunk.
Quantum Mechanics and the Cookie Cutter Paradigm
It may appear that our calculation amounts to using an elephant gun to shoot a fly.
A Googly Amplitude from the B-model in Twistor Space
HH 555 is a bipolar jet emerging from the tip of an elephant trunk entering the Pelican Nebula from the adjacent molecular cloud.
Numerical Simulations of HH 555
HH 555 is a bipolar jet emerging from the tip of an elephant trunk embedded in the nebula.
Numerical Simulations of HH 555
From close to the tip of the elephant trunk, a bipolar outflow is injected, with an axis at an angle to the impinging, ionizing flux.
Numerical Simulations of HH 555