Definition of ivory tower in English:

ivory tower


  • A state of privileged seclusion or separation from the facts and practicalities of the real world.

    ‘the ivory tower of academia’
    • ‘I'm not going to an ivory tower to write reports and articles for other academics.’
    • ‘Robbie Johnson had cornered a timid young lecturer and was educating him about the nature of the real world outside the ivory tower.’
    • ‘His views are shaped by regular trips on the beat, recognising it is not enough to sit ‘in my ivory tower pontificating about the sociology of drug abuse’.’
    • ‘Rhythm and movement are everywhere in India, like air and water, and affect even the most prosaic shopkeeper in the bazaar or the academic in his ivory tower.’
    • ‘Some of us would enjoy the ivory tower only too much, and there is plenty of self-interest on the part of academics who want to return to it.’
    theoretical, conceptual, notional, philosophical, unpragmatic, hypothetical, speculative, conjectural, conjectured, suppositional, putative
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Early 20th century: translating French tour d'ivoire, used by the writer Sainte-Beuve.


ivory tower