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 elephantb : any of various extinct relatives of the elephant — see mammoth, mastodon
2 : one that is uncommonly large or hard to manage
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 of elephant from the Web
Zoos around the world have had enormous difficulty in getting captive elephants to reproduce—and don’t even get zookeepers started on pandas.
Elephants are hunted and killed for their ivory tusks.
Not long ago, mahouts prodded their working elephants to help push trucks free of muddy quagmires on the road.
In response to those protests, Ringling Bros. retired its elephants a year and a half before the traveling circus played its final show, sending them to the circus's Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida.
An elephant rescue in India, President Trump travels overseas, continued unrest in Venezuela and Kashmir, a terror attack in Manchester, England, the removal of a Confederate statue in New Orleans, ducklings at the White House, and much more.
Someone had to go measure the elephants that would go on to play the Banthas, Tatooine's larger-than-life creatures.
In May 2016, the company removed elephants from its shows, but ticket sales continued to decline.
For elephants in circuses, the training extends further.
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.
Origin and Etymology of elephant
Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French olifant, elefant, from L. elephantus, from Greek elephant-, elephas
First Known Use: 14th century
ELEPHANT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of elephant for English Language Learners
: a very large gray animal that has a long, flexible nose and two long tusks
ELEPHANT Defined for Kids
Definition of elephant for Students
: a huge typically gray mammal of Africa or Asia with the nose drawn out into a long trunk and two large curved tusks
Seen and Heard
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