an/(one's) ivory tower

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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

an ivory tower

COMMON If you say that someone is in an ivory tower, you mean that they are protected from the problems of ordinary life and are not aware of how ordinary people live. They're all out of touch — they live up in a little ivory tower, and they don't see what's going on down here. This won't happen until politicians come down from their ivory tower and learn to work in the real world of limited budgets and uncertain futures. Note: This is a translation of a French expression `tour d'ivoire', which was used by the critic Saint-Beuve to describe the way in which the writer Alfred de Vigny isolated himself from the rest of society.
See also: ivory, tower
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

an ˌivory ˈtower

(disapproving) a way of life in which people avoid the unpleasant realities of life: Just because I’m a writer, it doesn’t mean I live in an ivory tower. I have to earn a living like anyone else.What do professors and academics sitting in their ivory towers know about the real world?
See also: ivory, tower
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
In this process of educational change, ivory towers have been transformed into expensive trade schools; Eurocentrism has been upended; teaching and research are now "politicized and treated as instruments of popular reform" (xv).
The book limits itself to demanding that companies be more transparent, that they open their inner sanctums to the public and that corporate boards climb down from their ivory towers. But it doesn't explain how the web will create these new economic and social orders.
There are a lot of dead bodies strewn between Marx's desk at the British Museum Library and what Francis Fukuyama called "the end of history." In another half century, when millions more have been infected with HIV and died of AIDS complications, the same might well be said of the killing fields that stretch between the ivory towers of radical queer theorists and the bedrooms of gay men.
As marine and conservation biologists, Norse told Science News, "we are" realizing slowly but surely that we can't hide in our ivory towers any longer and just do our thing.
People can relate to those from humble backgrounds rather than those in ivory towers
One hesitates to speak of ivory towers, but hasn't he noticed that in our region, Tory MPs and councillors are about as numerous as pork pies at a vegetarian banquet?
Come on, councillors, come out of your ivory towers into the real world and start looking after the public.
So remember when you fall from your ivory towers and are hurting, it was your lot who took away the safety net.
When councillors sitting in their luxury ivory towers think up these things they give no thought to people who, through ill health or old age, are no longer get about like they used to.
Community safety spokesman James Kelly said: "This report comes across as a view from the ivory towers of the Scot t ish government, as opposed to communit ies d e a l i n g w i t h r owd y behaviour and intimidation.
"ACADEMICS insist poor will not be priced out by rises", said your headline in Tuesday's paper, but if they really believe that, they've been in their ivory towers too long.
"Our Phase II project has been going full steam ahead to achieve a 24-hour cycle as soon as possible, which includes Ebony and Ivory Towers while Phase I is nearing completion.
It is time the judges came down from their ivory towers and listened to what people want in the way of justice.
It's hardly surprising that those of us who don't live at No26, Ivory Towers, ie about 99.9 per cent of the population, fully support Orde in this.
Initiatives don''t get people into work, real jobs get people back into work and it''s about time our MPs from all parties who live in their ivory towers and earn massive wages and claim expenses, did something about it.