ivory tower


Definition of ivory tower

1 : an impractical often escapist attitude marked by aloof lack of concern with or interest in practical matters or urgent problems
2 : a secluded place that affords the means of treating practical issues with an impractical often escapist attitude especially : a place of learning

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Other Words from ivory tower

ivory-tower adjective
ivory-towerish \ ˈīv-​rē-​ˈtau̇-​(ə-​)rish How to pronounce ivory tower (audio) , ˈī-​və-​rē-​ \ adjective

Examples of ivory tower in a Sentence

The book was written by some college professor who's spent her entire professional life in an ivory tower.
Recent Examples on the Web Despite the academic setting, Kondritz does not operate in an ivory tower. Bruce Tulgan, Forbes, 7 Oct. 2021 Thought leadership isn’t about delivering some grand ivory tower thesis or accumulating intimidating bylines from elite publications. David Feldman, Forbes, 29 Sep. 2021 This is the magic of Oh’s performance — to portray an ivory tower English professor as an everywoman. Nancy Wang Yuen, Los Angeles Times, 20 Aug. 2021 The Pac-12 schools are carrying lingering frustration from the decade of decline in prestige and money overseen by former commissioner Larry Scott from his ivory tower in downtown San Francisco. Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2021 Academia is often thought of as an ivory tower; a place where the brightest and most thirsty minds convene to acquire more knowledge and expertise. Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, 16 May 2021 Genius isn’t just some ivory tower thing that predominantly white men have. BostonGlobe.com, 17 June 2021 The first is of an ivory tower—of researchers pondering scientific mysteries on a leafy university or corporate campus. Sunil Prashara, Fortune, 15 June 2021 Chief operating officer Tonya Robles doesn’t think the BSO has secluded itself in an ivory tower. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, 11 June 2021

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

1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ivory tower

translation of French tour d'ivoire

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Time Traveler for ivory tower

Time Traveler

The first known use of ivory tower was in 1894

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Dictionary Entries Near ivory tower

ivory tint

ivory tower


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Statistics for ivory tower

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ivory tower.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ivory%20tower. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for ivory tower

ivory tower


English Language Learners Definition of ivory tower

: a place or situation in which people make and discuss theories about problems (such as poverty and racism) without having any experience with those problems


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