in an ivory tower

in an/(one's) ivory tower

Residing or existing 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, 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
References in periodicals archive ?
JOHN Darcy thinks I live in an ivory tower because I criticised the reluctance of JLR workers to adopt more productive ways of working.
My life in an ivory tower included a spell as a Labour councillor, my friends included Eddie McGarry, convenor at Triumph Motor Co.
"They're a bunch of suits in an ivory tower trying to decide what we should see, what we shouldn't see."
Only one in 10 employees said bosses inspired them, while six in 10 said they were out of touch,'locked in an ivory tower'.
He is living in an ivory tower. I work in Brussels and have been to Turin on many occasions.