elephant in the room

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elephant in the room

An obvious truth or fact, especially one regarded as embarrassing or undesirable, that is being intentionally ignored or left unaddressed. We all sat sipping our tea quietly, no one wanting to bring up the elephant in the room about Joel's expulsion from college. The incident has remained something of an elephant in the room within our family.
See also: elephant, room
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the ˌelephant in the ˈroom

a serious problem that everyone is aware of but which they ignore and choose not to mention: The growing budget deficit is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.
See also: elephant, room
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

elephant in the room

A matter or problem that is obvious or of great importance but that is not discussed openly.
See also: elephant, room
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

elephant in the room, an

An extremely obvious circumstance that can hardly be overlooked. Jo Bannister used it in Liars All (2009), “She hadn’t told Paddy how serious Jonathan’s condition was . . . But it was like an elephant in the drawing room; Paddy didn’t need pointing it out to know it was there.” And Lindsay Coates’s column about Haiti’s lack of land rights slowing recovery from the devastating earthquake was headlined: “Land Tenure: Haiti’s Elephant in the Room” (Huffington Post, July 21, 2010). See also seen the elephant.
See also: elephant
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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