el·​e·​phan·​tine | \ ˌe-lə-ˈfan-ˌtēn How to pronounce elephantine (audio) , -ˌtīn, ˈe-lə-fən- \

Definition of elephantine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having enormous size or strength : massive
b : clumsy, ponderous elephantine verse
2 : of or relating to an elephant


geographical name
El·​e·​phan·​ti·​ne | \ ˌe-lə-ˌfan-ˈtī-nē How to pronounce Elephantine (audio) , -fən-, -ˈtē- \

Definition of Elephantine (Entry 2 of 2)

island in the Nile River opposite Aswân in southern Egypt population 1814

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Examples of elephantine in a Sentence

Adjective He has an elephantine ego. the wedding reception was held under an elephantine tent on the great lawn
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Growths the size of golf balls bulged out of his forearm and elephantine ankles. Washington Post, "Chinese metal mines feed the global demand for gadgets. They’re also poisoning China’s poorest regions.," 29 Dec. 2019 Growths the size of golf balls bulged out of his forearm and elephantine ankles. Anchorage Daily News, "Chinese metal mines feed global demand for gadgets and poison China’s poorest regions," 30 Dec. 2019 But Mr Trump also feels unbound by agreements, oral or otherwise, made by previous governments, a blow to China and its elephantine capacity for remembering ancient half-promises. The Economist, "Why Chinese officials like useless meetings in over-stuffed chairs," 1 Aug. 2019 My book manuscript was due to my editor in less than a year, but marshaling my despondent, wildly bereft thoughts for the purposes of creative work seemed a hurdle too elephantine to overcome. Rachel Vorona Cote, SELF, "Why I Embraced Skin Care After My Mother's Death," 18 Apr. 2019 Put another way, how to engage in a covert propaganda campaign aimed at Trump, without upsetting his elephantine ego? New York Times, "First Canada Tried to Charm Trump. Now It’s Fighting Back.," 9 June 2018 And then there was the elephantine object in the room. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "'Das Paradies': A giant globular tear as ticket to heaven," 4 June 2018 In town, the greengrocer finds a fuzzy, marmot-like creature with elephantine ears in a crate of oranges. Frances Leech, Longreads, "Forgetting the Madeleine," 3 May 2018 Perry’s soloing was a melodic, piercing howl atop the latter’s elephantine riff. Marc Hirsh, BostonGlobe.com, "Joe Perry rocks his way at House of Blues," 19 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elephantine.' 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 elephantine


1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for elephantine

Time Traveler

The first known use of elephantine was in 1610

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Statistics for elephantine

Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elephantine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elephantine. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for elephantine


How to pronounce Elephantine (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of elephantine

: very large like an elephant
: not graceful : awkward or clumsy

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More from Merriam-Webster on elephantine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for elephantine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with elephantine

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about elephantine

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