elephant

noun, often attributive
el·e·phant | \ˈe-lə-fənt \
plural elephants also elephant

Definition of elephant 

1a : a thickset, usually extremely large, nearly hairless, herbivorous mammal (family Elephantidae, the elephant family) that has a snout elongated into a muscular trunk and two incisors in the upper jaw developed especially in the male into long ivory tusks:

(1) : a tall, large-eared mammal (Loxodonta africana) of tropical Africa that is sometimes considered to comprise two separate species (L. africana of sub-Saharan savannas and L. cyclotis of central and western rain forests)

called also African elephant

(2) : a relatively small-eared mammal (Elephas maximus) of forests of southeastern Asia

called also Asian elephant, Indian elephant

b : any of various extinct relatives of the elephant — see mammoth, mastodon

2 : one that is uncommonly large or hard to manage

Illustration of elephant

Illustration of elephant

elephant: 1 African, 2 Asian

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Examples of elephant in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Mr Haidt argues that political reasoning is like riding an elephant. The Economist, "The L wordWho is a Democrat?," 12 July 2018 Their experience of time and space is as different from yours as a songbird’s perception is different from an elephant’s. Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, "‘I’m a Single Mom and My Friends Walk All Over Me’," 4 July 2018 Like, why would evolution produce an elephant with a shovel for a face? Matt Simon, WIRED, "How Roboticists Are Copying Nature to Make Fantastical Machines," 28 June 2018 Satisfaction with the country's direction has reached a 12-year high while trust in the mainstream media drops to another low, which could be why the press has gone nuttier than an elephant's diarrhea. Fox News, "Gutfeld: Trump is succeeding and it's the media's nightmare," 24 June 2018 Since their launch in 2014, Canines for Conservation has completed over 200 busts of poached merchandise, homing in on ivory elephant tusks, pangolin scales, rhinoceros horns and more with 90 percent accuracy. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "It’s Pooches vs. Poachers in the Fight Against Wildlife Smugglers," 22 June 2018 At least one person was even trampled to death by an elephant. Jason Lemon, ajc, "What is selfitis? 5 things to know about the obsessive selfie disorder," 21 June 2018 Its photo gallery features pictures of a newlywed couple sitting in the grass, mere feet from an elephant with no protective barrier between them. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "3 bitten when family mistakes bobcats for domestic kittens: report," 8 May 2018 Poaching is rampant across the continent; rhino horn is worth more than its weight in gold and three each day get poached (though less valuable, ivory is still hot on the black market, and an elephant is captured and killed every 15 minutes). Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Your First Safari Should Be in Botswana," 25 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elephant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of elephant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for elephant

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French olifant, elefant, from L. elephantus, from Greek elephant-, elephas

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Statistics for elephant

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elephant

The first known use of elephant was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for elephant

elephant

noun

Financial Definition of elephant

What It Is

Elephants are large institutions that make big trades.

How It Works

CalPERS (the California Public Employees' Retirement System) is the nation's largest pension fund. More than 1.6 million people there are employees of public institutions such as schools and local governments. To ensure that the fund has enough money to make pension payments when employees retire, it invests that money in stocks, bonds, venture capital, real estate and a variety of other assets. In 2012, CalPERS had about $234 billion invested and another $3 billion in cash.

Accordingly, it can make some very large trades and has a lot of influence in the market. CalPERS can also be a source of capital for growing companies: It invested $34.2 billion in private equity in 2012.

Why It Matters

When elephants make trades, they are often large trades that can spike (or tank) the price of a stock or other security quickly. Elephants aren't just big influencers of the markets; they're big "gets" for brokerage firms, advisory firms, or any other financial institution that retains them as customers. After all, fees are often a percentage of trade size or asset size, and thus it's usually a big deal to "bag an elephant."

Source: Investing Answers

elephant

noun

English Language Learners Definition of elephant

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

elephant

noun
el·e·phant | \ˈe-lə-fənt \

Kids Definition of elephant

: a huge typically gray mammal of Africa or Asia with the nose drawn out into a long trunk and two large curved tusks

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Comments on elephant

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