22 January 2012

The Elephant in the Room

The elephant in the room. If you speak English as a second language you may not have come across this metaphorical idiom before. What does elephant in the room mean? It is when an obvious truth is almost studiously ignored, or indeed a problem exists which everyone denies by silence.  If you have an elephant in a room, let’s face it, the prodigious pachyderm is impossible to ignore. Yet if you do then you choose to ignore a problem or issue which is looming over you like, well, you know!

Although it makes its first appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary as late as 1959 it was used in a British journal n 1915. Mark Twain also conceptually used the metaphor in The Stolen White Elephant. I recently came across this marvelous homage to the art of Max Ernst, created by Flickr User Seriykotik1970. You can find a number more at his extremely groovy photostream.