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What does 'the (or 'an' maybe...?) elephant in the room' mean?
I think this is something idiomatic or metaphoric, but I have no idea.
Any relations to the phrases such as 'white elephant' or 'pink elephant'?[<:o)]
Many thanks for your help in advance.

- Ah...BTW, if there were an elephant in my room.... what would I do.....!?
The most important thing I'd like to ask him/her would be.... "Please don't sleep on my bed!!"

Candy
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Comments  (Page 2) 
A similar (though not identical) expression is "skeleton in the closet." This means a deep dark secret that would be devastating if revealed. You might see a sentence like "The new Supeme Court nominee was thoroughly vetted to be sure there are no skeletons lurking in his closet." -- meaning no secret problems like alcoholism, drug use or former crimes. (Future crimes are a whole different story.) An elephant in the living room is something that everyone knows about but no one mentions, like Mom's drinking problem. A skeleton in the closet might not even be known to all the family members - something like the illegitimate child Mom gave away for adoption when she was 17.
Mike In JapanI had never heard this idiom before today.

Which idiom?

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I'm not sure, but I would have sworn those pachyderm prints weren't here this morning.
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This idiom refers to an issue that is carefully not being discussed. It also infers a value judgement that the issue not being discussed is indeed worthy of discussion. An elephant sitting in a small room would, indeed, be conspicuous.
This idiom was popularized by an engligh short story written int the late 19/early 20th century (colonial Imperialism). It referanced non-marital pregnancy. --It's reference came from africa. told as: as a show of wealth and and power, chiefs displayed all types of things to everyone in his 'throne room' esp. in meeting with foreign leaders/reps. An elephant is quite a symbol and an albino is very rare; and happens to be very useless, as it cant spend time in the sun (labor) and others will not breed with it. Like a trophy wife or chinese foot binding; look at me i'm going out of my way to accomidate my money/power/influence to impress you. And then he gave it away. You cant refuse it, use it, or explain it. you live with it and wait in silence.
--however i / my high school english teacher could be wrong
But the original question, "where did the expression get coined?" hasn't been answered. Definitions don't give us a clue about origin. Here's a theory, and hopefully it may jog the memory of someone out there: I suspect that the expression "elephant in the room" may have originated when English speaking folks visited an Asian country where elephants, especially an albino type, are revered. Like the cows in India, if one were to enter your home, you would consider that a blessing by the gods, even if it made a mess. So I wonder if folks visiting from another culture may have witnessed an Asian family, perhaps Burmese, going about their "normal" household behaviors despite the fact that an elephant was inside with them. What do you think?
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