“The Elephant in the Room” 象を使った英語のイディオムをご紹介!


Hi everyone, it’s Rodd here… Lately when we stay in our country house in a village in south eastern Thailand, we often get the village loudspeaker come on giving us a warning when there are wild elephants in the area, and to take care if we go outside – they can be quite aggressive if you get too close to them.
I have yet to see some roaming about, though I think it would be a really cool experience to see a herd of actual wild elephants!  All this talk of elephants got me thinking of a few idioms with elephants in them…

“The Elephant in the Room”

 Have you ever heard the idiom “the elephant in the room”?

This is a common saying and is often used.  Basically, if you say there is an elephant in the room, you mean that there is an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about.

白だけと意外にもクリーン意味じゃない”A White Elephant”?

 Have you ever heard the idiom “white elephant”?

When you hear this, it means it is a possession or project that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.

In former times, the rare albino elephant was regarded as holy. It was highly prized by the kings of Siam(now Thailand) and its upkeep was extremely expensive. It was apparently the practice for a king of Siam to give one of the elephants to a courtier they disliked. The unfortunate recipient would usually be financially ruined by the attempt to maintain the animal.

ピンクだけど可愛くない”Pink Elephants”?

 Have you ever heard the idiom “He’s seeing pink elephants”?

Basically these are hallucinations supposedly typical of those experienced by a drunk person. Perhaps I should see these from time to time too, as I like my beer(though from what I remember, I have never seen any pink elephants drunk or sober)!

“An elephant never forgets”

Have you ever heard the idiom “an elephant never forgets”?

When you hear this, it means if a person has a memory like an elephant, he or she has a very good memory indeed.  It comes from the real fact, that elephants have lifelong memories of their family and places they go – just like us!


I am sure there are more elephant idioms, but none come to mind at the moment – I guess I do not have a memory like an elephant.

I will keep my eyes peeled for any wild elephants in the area and get some photos if I can – safely of course!  Hmmm, perhaps there is one hiding behind that banana tree over there…


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  • 野生の象は見たことがありません。間近で見ると迫力あるでしょうね。象にも白いのがいるのですね。白い蛇は見たことがあります。象のイディオムが使えるくらい英語力がつくといいのですが…。次回も楽しみにしています。

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    長く日英翻訳に携わっており、どうすれば英語として自然かをうまく説明できる人気の講師!間違うことを恐れず、まずは書くことが大切であるというのをポリシーにしています。 座右の銘は「Never be afraid to always try new things and places, and enjoy life to its fullest.」