What does “elephant in the room” mean in English?
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Hi, I’m Joel. In this video I’m going to talk about the expression “the elephant in the
So, what does this mean? Is there a real elephant in the room?
No, of course not, it’s an idiom.
So, in this case, in this idiom, “the elephant in the room” refers to an uncomfortable topic.
Something that people don’t want to mention.
And they especially don’t want to be the first person to mention it, in a discussion or a meeting or something like that.
So, maybe some examples would be if someone was caught cheating for example.
If a husband committed adultery and he was caught.
People would not want to bring this topic up because it’s uncomfortable.
So, if there was some kind of a meeting, a family meeting maybe,
and nobody wanted to bring it up, nobody wanted to mention this because it’s uncomfortable.
So, then someone could say, “Well it’s time to address the elephant in the room”
and then go on to say whatever they need to say.
Or, “I guess no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room,” for example.
So, this is not just limited to an affair or something like that, this idiom can be used in many
Any time that there’s a topic that’s uncomfortable to mention
or to bring up and you’re in a group setting with a few people
and nobody wants to mention this uncomfortable topic,
so that can be referred to as “the elephant in the room.”
And it’s something that everybody already knows about.
That’s one reason maybe, why we call it an elephant, because it’s so big.
So, an elephant is something big that everybody can see,
everybody knows it’s there, you cannot hide it.
So, when everybody knows about something and nobody wants to talk about it or be the first person to mention it,
then that is “the elephant in the room.”
All right, well I hope that you learned something new and that you can use this phrase when
you’re practicing your English.
I hoped you liked the video.
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