an elephant in the room

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - an elephant in the room

"an elephant in the room"

an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - an elephant in the room

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Stan just signed a sales deal to deliver two hundred thousand units over the next three months.

Colleague 2:  That's fantastic. It will save the company. Not only that, there will be extra money to make office improvements.

Colleague 1:  Yes, it is great news but what about the elephant in the room?

Colleague 2:  I suppose nobody wants to talk about the fact that our factory simply doesn't have the capacity to produce that number of units that quickly.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - an elephant in the room

A couple are talking ...

Wife:  Now that you have been promoted at work and are making more money, we could sell our house and move to a better one that is closer to the kids' school.

Husband:  That is a great idea and is definitely possible but there is an elephant in the room.

Wife:  What's that?

Husband:  This house is in need of some major repairs and upgrades. I doubt we could sell it as it is now.

Wife:  I guess I didn't want to think about that but it is obvious. And it is going to take quite a bit of money and time to make all the repairs.

an elephant in the room - Usage:


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an elephant in the room - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for an elephant in the room.

an elephant in the room - Examples:

1)  ... worry about the rankings. I think it's a bit of an elephant in the room, we don't try to talk about it too much.

2)  Like an elephant in the room, Liz and Christoph don't talk about what would have happened.

3)  The government's lack of clear, structured housing policy has been an elephant in the room for some time now.

4)  ... isn't -- and couldn't be -- discussed. It's an elephant in the room that nobody talks about.

5)  ... is an issue that the organisation has to tackle. There was an elephant in the room during the awards, he wrote.

6)  There is an elephant in the room that was actively ignored in the press conferences after the attacks.

7)  Let me start out by saying, there is a bit of an elephant in the room. He then proceeded to ignore the elephant. 

8)  Such exclusions automatically allows any authority to avoid confronting an elephant in the room.

9)  Windows 10 EMM ecosystem matures over the next few months, there's still an elephant in the room: Enterprises are barely thinking about adopting Windows 10.

10)  ... scandal, an elephant in the room which the powers that be refuse to address sufficiently.

11)  ... won't be a voice around the conference table but will be very much an elephant in the room.

12)  ... which is the most feared word in our age and time. Cancer, an elephant in the room which we as society utter but one where we seldom acknowledge it.

13)  For servers, the connection between tips and taxes is an elephant in the room.

14)  Racism and its effect is an elephant in the room in many workplaces. People struggle to engage with it, but ...

15)  Speaking as a shareholder I'd like to point out an elephant in the room. That is professional managers running companies for their own benefit.

16)  I feel like there's an elephant in the room, and we simply aren't addressing it.

17)  He may not have been in court -- - but there was certainly an elephant in the room, namely the role of his parents in all of this.

18)  ... yet only discusses superficially before moving on. Hey, is that an elephant in the room? Yes, but let's not attract attention.

19)  The recently released white paper on developing northern Australia ignores an elephant in the room: climate change.

20)  Neither spoke with one another, but it was like there was an elephant in the room that couldn't be addressed.