White elephant
White elephant White elephant Something requiring much care and expense to maintain and yielding little profit, and often difficult to sell; any burdensome possession. [Slang] [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • White elephant — White White (hw[imac]t), a. [Compar. {Whiter} (hw[imac]t [ e]r); superl. {Whitest}.] [OE. whit, AS. hw[imac]t; akin to OFries. and OS. hw[=i]t, D. wit, G. weiss, OHG. w[=i]z, hw[=i]z, Icel. hv[=i]tr, Sw. hvit, Dan. hvid, Goth. hweits, Lith.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • white elephant — ˌwhite ˈelephant noun [countable] something that is completely useless, even though it cost a lot of money: • The hotel is unfinished and structurally unsound a white elephant of epic proportions. * * * white elephant UK US noun [C] ► something… …   Financial and business terms

  • white elephant — {n. phr.} Unwanted property, such as real estate, that is hard to sell. * /That big house of theirs on the corner sure is a white elephant./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • white elephant — {n. phr.} Unwanted property, such as real estate, that is hard to sell. * /That big house of theirs on the corner sure is a white elephant./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • white elephant — n [Date: 1800 1900; Origin: From the supposed practice of the King of Siam, who gave to people he did not like a white elephant, which cost a very large amount of money to keep] something that is completely useless, although it may have cost a… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • white elephant — white elephants N COUNT (disapproval) If you describe something as a white elephant, you mean that it is a waste of money because it is completely useless. The pavilion has become a ₤14 million steel and glass white elephant …   English dictionary

  • white elephant — A white elephant is an expensive burden; something that costs far too much money to run, like the Millennium Dome in the UK …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • white elephant — white′ el′ephant n. 1) a possession unwanted by the owner but difficult to dispose of 2) a possession entailing great expense out of proportion to its value to the owner 3) mam an albino Indian elephant • Etymology: 1850–55; from the tale that… …   From formal English to slang

  • white elephant — n. 1. an albino elephant 2. something from which little profit or use is derived; esp., such a possession maintained at much expense ☆ 3. any object no longer desired by its owner, but of possible value to others …   English World dictionary

  • white elephant — noun count 1. ) an object that is useless and may have cost a lot of money 2. ) an important project that has failed very badly …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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