ivory tower


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

an/(one's) ivory tower

A place or 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

ivory tower

A place or attitude of retreat, remoteness from everyday affairs, as in What does the professor know about student life, living as he does in an ivory tower? This term is a translation of the French tour d'ivoire, which the critic Saint-Beuve used to describe the attitude of poet Alfred de Vigny in 1837. It is used most often in reference to intellectuals and artists who remain complacently aloof.
See also: ivory, tower

ivory tower

n. an imaginary location where aloof academics are said to reside and work. Why don’t you come out of your ivory tower and see what the world is really like?
See also: ivory, tower

ivory tower

A situation or attitude remote from practical affairs. The term originated in the French critic Sainte-Beuve’s description of poet Alfred de Vigny as living in an ivory tower (1837), that is, isolated from life’s harsh realities. Subsequently, the term has been used to describe academics, artists, writers, or indeed anyone complacently aloof from everyday affairs. Cyril Connolly (Enemies of Promise, 1938) used it to disparage Walter Pater: “Pater, calling an art-for-art’s sake muezzin to the faithful from the top-most turret of the ivory tower.” The term is heard less often today but is by no means obsolete.
See also: ivory, tower
References in periodicals archive ?
A spokesman for QUB Watch, a pressure group which monitors Queen's, said: "It means a further retreat into an insular ivory tower cut off and remote from Northern Ireland."
In his ivory tower of academia, Dr Leunig appears to lack the perspicacity to understand people and the subtlety to deal with complex issues.
Do the planners just sit in their ivory tower at the Civic Centre and decide where to create havoc next?
No wonder.Mr Rae and his high-flying colleagues in Pitt Street have yet to deal with an angry man as they come through the ranks very quickly, in the safety of their ivory tower.
WITH the appointment of David Stewart as chief executive of the Coventry Building Society I sincerely hope that he doesn't sit there like Martin Ritchley did in his ivory tower and ignore some of the members, such as the elderly and disabled.
Why then can't the so-called leaders of our country, AMs, the assembly, who sit in their ivory tower, allocating thousands and even millions on their offices and the soon to be completed 'glass house', decide now (not next year) to allocate the pounds 21m required for the completion of phase two and three of the children's hospital.
If he can't sort out the North East's problems, despite the fact he seems to think he can sort all the world's out, then it's doubtful a bunch of hand-picked `yes' men sitting in their ivory tower in Durham will make an ounce of difference ( apart from costing us a fortune in taxes!
All of which only reveals the ivory tower MPs live in and how easily it is for them to break their promise.
It seems that up there in Catherine's ivory tower - built of Manolos and Jimmy Choos, obviously - the credit crunch is just something that happens to other people.
When a University Challenge team bridled at questions on Andrew Lloyd Webber's tunes, he snapped: "There's no shame in knowing this" adding "to think they said the ivory tower was dead".
A HEAD teacher at a Coventry school has accused Westminster politicians of sitting in an "ivory tower" over proposals to introduce drug testing in schools.
His life in jail will be a far cry from the ivory tower of his life as a vicar pondering his next sermon; rather he will be reviled for his lust and foolishness.
He needs to descend from his ivory tower and take a stroll down here among us mere mortals.
How wonderful it must be to live in Mr Jones' ivory tower and blame all society's ills on the police.
IT is time you came out of your Ivory Tower, Rhodri?