white elephant was our Word of the Day on 02/19/2013. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of white elephant from the Web
No more white elephant venues that start to decay as soon as the Olympians leave town.
The market's 55th year was held on the green on Sept. 9 and featured a selection of antiques and collectibles, crafts, white elephant items, great food, as well as information from various nonprofits.
China is, of course, big enough to handle a few white elephants.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'white elephant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The real white elephant (the kind with a trunk) is a pale pachyderm that has long been an object of veneration in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar. Too revered to be a beast of burden, the white elephant earned a reputation as a burdensome beast, one that required constant care and feeding but never brought a single cent (or paisa or satang or pya) to its owner. One story has it that the kings of Siam (the old name for Thailand) gave white elephants as gifts to those they wished to ruin, hoping that the cost of maintaining the voracious but sacred mammal would drive its new owner to the poorhouse.
First Known Use of white elephant
WHITE ELEPHANT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of white elephant for English Language Learners
: something that requires a lot of care and money and that gives little profit or enjoyment
Seen and Heard
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