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Elephant in the Room

What Does "Elephant in the Room" Mean?

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"Elephant in the room" is an English idiom. It means "a major problem or controversial issue that is obviously present but avoided as a subject for discussion."

Examples in Sentences

Here are three examples of the idiom "elephant in the room" used in a sentence:
  • No one mentioned the company's financial troubles, but it was the elephant in the room.
  • We all knew he had failed the test, but it became the elephant in the room during dinner.
  • Until we address the elephant in the room, team meetings will remain unproductive.
meaning for elephant in the room

What Is an Idiom?

An idiom is a commonly used expression whose meaning does not relate to the literal meaning of its words. In other words, if you were to translate "Elephant in the Room" word for word, there is no guarantee the translation would help you to understand the meaning.

An idiom often includes a cultural or historical context that makes it difficult for non-native English speakers to understand. A phrase is classified as an idiom when a direct translation of the words does not reveal the meaning. Most idioms rely on shared knowledge or experiences known only to a specific community.

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