an ivory tower

an/(one's) ivory tower

A place or a social circle that is characterized by effete academic intelligence and thus is out of touch with or aloof from the realities of life. I don't put much weight in the advice of a bunch of economists living in their ivory towers who've never worked a real job in their lives. It seemed easy to solve all the world's problems when I was living in an ivory tower. Now that I'm out of college, I realize things are so much more complex than I'd imagined.
See also: ivory, tower

an ivory tower

COMMON If you say that someone is in an ivory tower, you mean that they are protected from the problems of ordinary life and are not aware of how ordinary people live. They're all out of touch — they live up in a little ivory tower, and they don't see what's going on down here. This won't happen until politicians come down from their ivory tower and learn to work in the real world of limited budgets and uncertain futures. Note: This is a translation of a French expression `tour d'ivoire', which was used by the critic Saint-Beuve to describe the way in which the writer Alfred de Vigny isolated himself from the rest of society.
See also: ivory, tower

an ˌivory ˈtower

(disapproving) a way of life in which people avoid the unpleasant realities of life: Just because I’m a writer, it doesn’t mean I live in an ivory tower. I have to earn a living like anyone else.What do professors and academics sitting in their ivory towers know about the real world?
See also: ivory, tower
References in periodicals archive ?
JOHN Darcy thinks I live in an ivory tower because I criticised the reluctance of JLR workers to adopt more productive ways of working.
New History of Wales 3: Public History Martin Johnes, Aled Jones and Peter Stead ask: Is Wales an ivory tower or public realm - and what is the point of Welsh history in the 21st century?
Come along, for an hour and see canny North Shields from an ivory tower.
The whole homeless advocacy world is busy talking about governance and structure and things that I guess, in an ivory tower, a university campus is very important to study up on the 11th floor of a social science building,'' Yaroslavsky said.
They're a bunch of suits in an ivory tower trying to decide what we should see, what we shouldn't see.
Set in an ancient and wealthy English estate, Lostlindens: An Ivory Tower Mystery is a suspenseful and deliciously written tale by award-winning author David D.
Better off in the wild' is an ivory tower position.
If we stick the kid in an ivory tower he'll lose touch with reality and probably go nuts in the process.
Desktop analysis and design is no longer an ivory tower tool, reserved for the engineering and scientific elite of large companies and research organizations.
District attorney candidate Barry Groveman attacked incumbent Gil Garcetti's record in child-abuse cases on Monday, saying the county's chief prosecutor sits in an ivory tower while thousands of children are abused.
The college does not wish to be an island within its city, nor an ivory tower with walls so high they are impossible for our neighbors to scale.
While he lolls in an ivory tower, we struggle with growing racial tensions, overcrowded schools, demands for housing and heavy welfare rolls, and we are stuck in gridlock at every turn.
Jackson has been an education to me and I shall miss him, but I think he is an ivory tower and has no clue how so many everyday citizens are so impacted by the issues of the day.
He was a high-level administrator, but more than any other administrator I've ever seen, he didn't manage from an ivory tower,'' said Allen, named interim director of the centers.