tower


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live in an/(one's) ivory tower

To reside or exist in a place or among 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, live, 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

tower of strength

A supportive or emotionally strong person. My aunt has been a tower of strength for me, helping me through many difficult moments in my life.
See also: of, strength, tower

*in an ivory tower

Fig. in a place, such as a university, where one can be aloof from the realities of living. (Typ—ically: be ~; dwell ~; live ~; work ~.) If you didn't spend so much time in your ivory tower, you'd know what people really think! Many professors are said to live in ivory towers. They don't know what the real world is like.
See also: ivory, tower

tower above someone or something

to stand or be much taller than someone or something. (Often used in exaggeration.) The basketball player towered above everyone else in the room. The new building towered above all the others in town.
See also: above, tower

tower head and shoulders above someone or something

 
1. Lit. [for someone] to stand much taller than someone or something. (Often used in exaggeration.) Bob towers head and shoulders above both his parents. The boys towered head and shoulders above the walls of the maze. They found their way around easily.
2. Fig. to be far superior to someone or a group. The new vice president towers head and shoulders above the old one. The chairman towered head and shoulders above the rest of the committee.
See also: above, and, head, shoulder, tower

tower of strength

Fig. a person who can always be depended on to provide support and encouragement, especially in times of trouble. Mary was a tower of strength when Jean was in the hospital. She looked after her whole family. Jack was a tower of strength during the time that his father was unemployed.
See also: of, strength, tower

tower over someone or something

to stand much taller than someone or something. Tom towers over his older brother, Stan. Tom towered over the little desk he had been assigned to.
See also: over, tower

ivory tower

A place or attitude of retreat, remoteness from everyday affairs, as in What does the professor know about student life, living as he does in an ivory tower? This term is a translation of the French tour d'ivoire, which the critic Saint-Beuve used to describe the attitude of poet Alfred de Vigny in 1837. It is used most often in reference to intellectuals and artists who remain complacently aloof.
See also: ivory, tower

tower of strength

A dependable person on whom one can lean in time of trouble, as in After Dad died Grandma was a tower of strength for the whole family. This expression, first recorded in 1549, originally was used most often to refer to God and heaven, but Shakespeare had it differently in Richard III (5:3): "Besides, the King's name is a tower of strength."
See also: of, strength, 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

a tower of strength

or

a pillar of strength

COMMON If someone is a tower of strength or a pillar of strength during a difficult period in your life, they give you a lot of help or support. My eldest daughter was a tower of strength for me when I was sick. In her terrible sadness she has found Charles to be a pillar of strength.
See also: of, strength, tower

a tower (or pillar) of strength

a person who can be relied upon to be a source of strong support and comfort.
This phrase may come from the Book of Common Prayer: ‘O Lord…be unto them a tower of strength’.
See also: of, strength, 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

a ˌpillar/ˌtower of ˈstrength

a person who gives you the courage and determination to continue when you are in a bad situation: My wife has been a tower of strength during my illness.During your five years in prison, Terry was a pillar of strength.
See also: of, pillar, strength, tower

tower above

or tower over
v.
1. To appear at or rise to a conspicuous height above someone or something: The oak towered above the rest of the trees. The skyscrapers tower over the horizon.
2. To demonstrate great superiority over someone or something: In terms of performance, our record towers above that of any other company in this city. Her report stated that the legacy of Alexander's empire towers over all other nations of the ancient world.
See also: above, tower

ivory tower

n. an imaginary location where aloof academics are said to reside and work. Why don’t you come out of your ivory tower and see what the world is really like?
See also: ivory, tower
References in classic literature ?
The old Louvre of Philip Augustus, that immense edifice whose great tower rallied about it three and twenty chief towers, not to reckon the lesser towers, seemed from a distance to be enshrined in the Gothic roofs of the Hôtel d'Alençon, and the Petit-Bourbon.
Behind the Bastille there were twenty hovels clustered round the curious sculptures of the Croix-Faubin and the flying buttresses of the Abbey of Saint- Antoine des Champs; then Popincourt, lost amid wheat fields; then la Courtille, a merry village of wine-shops; the hamlet of Saint-Laurent with its church whose bell tower, from afar, seemed to add itself to the pointed towers of the Porte Saint- Martin; the Faubourg Saint-Denis, with the vast enclosure of Saint-Ladre; beyond the Montmartre Gate, the Grange- Batelière, encircled with white walls; behind it, with its chalky slopes, Montmartre, which had then almost as many churches as windmills, and which has kept only the windmills, for society no longer demands anything but bread for the body.
She groped her way through the darkness, giving the tower and its enclosure as wide a berth as possible.
Safely past the nearest tower, she moved as rapidly as she felt consistent with safety, choosing her way wherever possible so that she might take advantage of the shadows of the trees that grew at intervals and at the same time discover those which bore fruit.
Then I went into the tower and ordered full speed ahead, hoping to distance the fearsome things; but it was useless.
I had tumbled backward into the tower, and I mighty near killed myself doing it.
They followed him on to the island, just under the tower, and Father Brown, whether from the mere touch of dry land, or the interest of something on the other bank of the river (which he stared at very hard for some seconds), seemed singularly improved in briskness.
The first seemed to be the outline of some tower or other building, crowned with what looked like curly-pointed ribbons.
Laboriously I climbed toward them by way of some windows which lay below them, for I hoped that I might find ingress to the tower through one of these, and thence an easier avenue along which to prosecute my search.
Matai Shang's reference to the hangar and the fliers indicated that my destination lay nothing short of the roof of the tower, and toward this seemingly distant goal I set my face.
Dawn had lifted, leaving a wide chasm of white between a great gray cloud and the great gray moorland, beyond which the tower was outlined against the daybreak and the sea.
As the group of detectives, followed by a cordon of policemen, spread out into a crescent to cut off all escape, the light in the tower flashed as if it were moved for a moment, and then went out.
I made about three passes in the air, and then there was an awful crash and that old tower leaped into the sky in chunks, along with a vast volcanic fountain of fire that turned night to noonday, and showed a thou- sand acres of human beings groveling on the ground in a general collapse of consternation.
There wasn't a rag of his tower left, but I had the government rebuild it for him, and advised him to take boarders; but he was too high- toned for that.
He was never tired of visiting the museum in the tower, and spent endless hours in inspecting the exhibits, till he was thoroughly familiar with every detail of all of them.