What does the phrase, "Elephant in the room" mean?
Sometimes, I hear people say, "Well, isn't THAT the elephant in the room?" I think I know, but really, what does it mean?
I believe that it mean there is something (figuratively) very obvious in the room that one one wants to address.
For eg. A jury consisting of black and white jurors who are are discussing a case where race is obviously a big issue, yet they are discussing everything but they race of the suspect even though it is at the back of everyone's mind. They may not bringing out the topic for various reasons such as not wanting to appear as racist etc. So in the above example, one can say that the suspect's race is the 'elephant in the room.' Hope this helps.
It usually means a topic or a really obvious problem that despite of its importance, noone dares to discuss.
Fun fact: In Hungary, we have a very similar saying. That one, when I try to translate it, means something like: "they are like an elephant in a porcelain shop". This describes a person who is (accidentally or on purpose) very destructive.
I hope I could help with these!
"Elephant in the room" is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.
It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.
(This is directly taken from Wikipedia. I was going to paraphrase, but this was very well stated, so I cut and pasted).
Elephant, tiger, gorilla, etc. Take your pick. There is something in that room to intimidate you or scare you to the point where you pretend it is not there. You don't want to deal with that elephant, and it is staring you in the face as a constant reminder. For instance, I walking my dog in my neighborhood two years ago, and a neighbor's dog got loose and came after me in attack mode (down low and staring me down). I screamed at it to "Go Home!," but it didn't work. The dog kept coming. A man stopped his car and chased the dog away, and I was able to run home with my dog. That elephant in the room remains stuck in my head, and I have taken my dog for walks--but only in places where people follow the county's leash law. The elephant in the room? That dog in attack mode, coming towards me. Over and over in my head. I'm not getting over this one! Here's my version of the "Elephant in the room."
It's something large that needs to be discussed, but isn't. If someone mentions it at all, then it's commented that 'that is the elephant in the room,'
That there is an extreme problem, which is obvious to everyone, but no one wants to even act as if it exists. They see it, and know it is there, but they do not want to acknowledge it at all. They are waiting for someone other than themselves to make note of it, then it is never really addressed.
It can be considered as 7 blind men visualizing the elephant and having totally opposite views.
It is THE topic that no one wishes to discuss but it loom large on the horizon whether it is discussed or not. Like Uncle Charlie was arrested for ...., Bob and Mari are getting a D I V O R C E (the couple that everyone thought would be together forever...well, it seems Bob had more than a wondering eye or was it Mari who did?)
It is that topic that makes everyone uncomfortable and making every effort to avoid.
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