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. © 2022 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: an, elephant
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
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.
It is in no small part due to Nettl's work that the proverbial elephant in the room has been brought into the very centre of the room, that room providing the intellectual space for the academic study of music, in turn making room for the study of musics everywhere (challenging once and for all the view that one music culture should be given priority over another in academia).
We could have written the book about the relationship elephant in the room. Let's consider what else we can share.
Quoting Wikipedia: 'Elephant in the room' is an English idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed.
His advisers also warned that Iraq was "the elephant in the room".
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.
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.
A composer once asked me, 'How do you deal with the elephant in the room?' For the composer, it's Wagner.
UBER described the loss of its licence in London as an "elephant in the room" as it launched an appeal against a ruling on the employment rights of its drivers.
It's the elephant in the room as far as the club is concerned, but fans are starting to change their underwear because it's been relegation form for some time.
The Elephant's Tea Party builds on an apt metaphor for bereavement, there's an elephant in the room, and the theme, an elephant never forgets.
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.
Visitors, including film stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, were given cards reading: "There's an elephant in the room."