elephant in the room

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(the) 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.
See also: elephant, room

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 ?
30 March 2017 - Southeastern, US-based graphic design firms Elephant In The Room and Shapiro|Walker have merged.
Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, design and brand strategy consulting firm Elephant In The Room has acquired longstanding graphic design agency ShapiroWalker Design.
It was thought Top Gear borrowed the model, since nicknamed Jeremy, to appear as a visual gag about the elephant in the room - the absence of Clarkson.
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's time to stand up and face the elephant in the room.
Visitors, including film stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, were given cards reading: "There's an elephant in the room.
One bishop called the sexuality issue "the elephant in the room," because it was never on the agenda and was discussed only informally in a hotel hospitality suite.