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

Both Kloss and Kushner shared Instagrams set against the savanna, complete with lions and elephants. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Karlie Kloss and Joshua Kushner Head to South Africa on Their Honeymoon," 27 Dec. 2018 During these times, the Loess Plateau would have been a temperate grassland crossed by streams and dotted with small lakes, offering rich grazing for horses, rhinos, deer, elephants, and ancient relatives of cattle. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Hominins lived in China 2.1 million years ago," 11 July 2018 Watch closely and enjoy as the showman sings on what appears to be a tree to the left while elephants and bears walk to the beat. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "The Greatest Showman," 12 Dec. 2018 Hindu processions require the groom to ride into the wedding venue on a horse or elephant accompanied by his friends and family, which does not exactly bode well for church settings...but would certainly be something to behold. Noor Brara, Vogue, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Begin Their Pre-Wedding Ceremonies—Here’s What Could Be Next," 28 Nov. 2018 Now Connected Conservation, as the joint project is known, is extending its work to reserves in Zambia, Mozambique, and Kenya, where elephants and more are under threat. Helena Pozniak, Popular Mechanics, "The Technology That Will Finally Stop Poachers," 26 Nov. 2018 One of the recipes is for elephant stew, to serve 3,882 people. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Caroline Hunt, Heiress to Oil Riches, Owned Luxury Hotels and Clung to Frugal Habits," 23 Nov. 2018 Too clumsy to be featured in the circus elephant act, he is made into a clown instead. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New trailer for Disney’s live-action Dumbo captures magic of original," 15 Nov. 2018 The African nation has the second largest elephant population in the world with more than 80,000 roaming the land, according to the 2016 Great Elephant Census. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "German tourist killed in elephant trampling, officials say," 28 Sep. 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

3 Jan 2019

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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