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


He has an elephantine ego. the wedding reception was held under an elephantine tent on the great lawn

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Trimming those 20 minutes may have been the more commercial decision and also the more palatable one for the festival, which has a history of reining in directors and their elephantine running times. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Ismael's Ghosts' is a messy but vibrant drama from French director Arnaud Desplechin," 5 Apr. 2018 The advertisements alone are like hieroglyphs: endless full pages selling elephantine audio equipment, brands of beer, cigarettes, fountain pens. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "Hugh Hefner Was Never The Star of Playboy," 29 Sep. 2017 Suddenly, the Four Guardsmen came into view: a tight quartet of elephantine sequoia trunks through which the road passes. Jon Mooallem, New York Times, "In the Land of Giants," 23 Mar. 2017

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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Statistics for elephantine

Last Updated

1 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elephantine

The first known use of elephantine was in 1610

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More Definitions for elephantine



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with elephantine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for elephantine

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about elephantine

Comments on elephantine

What made you want to look up elephantine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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