elephant in the room

noun phrase

: an obvious major problem or issue that people avoid discussing or acknowledging

Examples of elephant in the room in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Elsewhere in the teaser, Garcelle Beauvais addresses the elephant in the room and confronts Kyle about the rumors about her marital problems with Mauricio, 53. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 23 Nov. 2023 With fatherhood as the subject of the new series, Frasier’s distance from Freddy feels like the elephant in the room. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 10 Oct. 2023 But the elephant in the room is reining in hospitals, which make up the largest portion of U.S. health care spending. Rachel Cohrs, STAT, 26 Oct. 2023 The elephant in the room is how to pay for the project. Ron Wood, Arkansas Online, 20 Oct. 2023 All this, however, could not hide the elephant in the room: the growing Palestinian fury at humiliation and marginalization that had already led to a spike in West Bank violence this year. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 8 Oct. 2023 After addressing the elephant in the room, the hosts got down to business on Monday, recapping the last five months as quickly and as humorously as possible. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 3 Oct. 2023 Sign up The elephant in the room at meetings like these is that, obviously, the wealthiest and most powerful countries are also the most prolific emitters. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 Now, there’s an elephant in the room–job displacement. Jane Thier, Fortune, 3 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'elephant in the room.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1985, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of elephant in the room was in 1985

Dictionary Entries Near elephant in the room

Cite this Entry

“Elephant in the room.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elephant%20in%20the%20room. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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