elephant in the room, an

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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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Turning on the old adage about 'an elephant in the room', Hunting Elephants has its teenage protagonist reluctantly accompany his parents to a remote country property for a family wedding.
As the national debate over the abuses ingrained in our capital punishment system continues, more and more people are conceding that there is an elephant in the room. It is likely that someone has already been executed mistakenly and that other innocent persons are on death row right now.
Visitors, including film stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, were given cards reading: "There's an elephant in the room."