noun, often attributive \ˈe-lə-fənt\

: a very large gray animal that has a long, flexible nose and two long tusks

plural elephants also elephant

Full Definition of ELEPHANT

:  any of a family (Elephantidae, the elephant family) of thickset usually extremely large nearly hairless herbivorous mammals that have a snout elongated into a muscular trunk and two incisors in the upper jaw developed especially in the male into large ivory tusks and that include two living forms and various extinct relatives: as
a :  a tall large-eared mammal (Loxodonta africana) of tropical Africa —called also African elephant
b :  a relatively small-eared mammal (Elephas maximus) of forests of southeastern Asia —called also Asian elephant, Indian elephant
:  an animal or fossil related to the elephants
:  one that is uncommonly large or hard to manage

Examples of ELEPHANT

  1. <by any standard, the new shopping mall will be an elephant and one that is certain to alter the retail landscape>

Illustration of ELEPHANT

Origin of ELEPHANT

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French olifant, elefant, from L. elephantus, from Greek elephant-, elephas
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Mammals Terms

dormouse, dugong, gibbon, grimalkin, sable, stoat, ungulate, vole


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).—E.S. Ross

Any of three ungulate species in the order Proboscidea (family Elephantidae), characterized by their large size, long trunk, tusks, massive legs, large ears, and huge head. All species are grayish to brown, with sparse, coarse body hair. The trunk is used for breathing, drinking, and reaching for food. Elephants eat grasses, leaves, and fruit. The African savanna, or bush elephant (Loxodonta africana), of sub-Saharan Africa, is the largest living land animal, weighing up to 16,500 lbs (7,500 kg) and standing 10–13 ft (3–4 m) tall at the shoulder. The African forest elephant (L. cyclotis) is smaller. The Indian elephant (Elephas maximus), of South and Southeast Asia, weighs about 12,000 lbs (5,500 kg) and stands about 10 ft (3 m) tall. Elephants live in habitats ranging from thick jungle to savanna, in small family groups led by old cows. Most bulls live in bachelor herds. Elephants migrate seasonally. They may eat more than 500 lbs (225 kg) of vegetation daily. All species are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).


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