Definition of white elephant in English:

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white elephant

Pronunciation:

noun

A possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of: a huge white elephant of a house that needed ten thousand spent on it
More example sentences
  • The wave of ‘urban renewal’ in the 1950s and '60s gave us the devastated inner cities of today, and many projects become expensive, taxpayer-funded white elephants.
  • Opponents say they will be hugely expensive white elephants which could cost taxpayers a fortune.
  • Last month, Bradford Chamber of Commerce and Industry branded the idea of a Yorkshire assembly as an expensive white elephant.

Origin

From the story that the kings of Siam gave such animals as a gift to courtiers they disliked, in order to ruin the recipient by the great expense incurred in maintaining the animal.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: white ele|phant

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