Definition of elephantine in US English:



  • Of, resembling, or characteristic of an elephant or elephants, especially in being large, clumsy, or awkward.

    ‘there was an elephantine thud from the bathroom’
    • ‘Now that might not seem like that much money to a state facing an elephantine $38 billion budget deficit, but it means very specific cuts to very specific programs that affect hundreds of thousands of people.’
    • ‘In keeping with recent elephantine overruns that render the Space Station Alpha a useless floating boondoggle in the sky, each NASA shuttle launch costs over $400 million.’
    • ‘I think, deep down - well, not that deep, actually - I was so irked by the elephantine pause before our orders were taken I half-wanted it to be a disaster.’
    • ‘Nothing else can explain the wealthy male's love of the ridiculous, elephantine Humvee 4WD military truck, now the preferred vehicle not only of Hollywood stars, but of Premiership footballers.’
    • ‘The members and trustees wish to create a new Guinness record with the themes, ‘Forging ahead with elephantine strength’ and ‘Lighting lonely lives.’’
    • ‘The sandy beach at Chintheche is one of the best on the entire lakeshore, hemmed in by smooth, elephantine rocks.’
    • ‘But they have an undeniable gentleness and elephantine beauty about them, with their hanging folds of skin and ponderous outlook on life.’
    • ‘And although I've always loved caladiums for their cool elephantine leaves, I resent their invasion in my view.’
    • ‘It's not easy, because it is a bureaucracy that really for 50 years kind of went to waste and grew in elephantine proportions and they were trying to get it to do gymnastics, so it really did need to reform.’
    • ‘I think the charges are relevant and deserve scrutiny, but as I said, I leave that to others; I'm more interested in how the story does or does not bloom and blossom in the elephantine media.’
    • ‘As much mud in the streets, as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, 40 feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill.’
    • ‘Soon enough, the cream will rise to the top and our elephantine popularity contest will have proven itself once again as both as defining and as completely irrelevant as freshman yearbook pictures.’
    • ‘He picked up and in an explosion of bursting muscles, face brimming with pain and desire, he lifted the entire world above his head, flung down the weight and performed an elephantine jig of celebration.’
    • ‘Here are the clues we have to work with: Over the Veteran's Day weekend, GOP negotiators from the House and Senate hunkered down to finalize the details of the elephantine security bill.’
    • ‘Burdened by an elephantine rucksack, his pink skin charred to a luscious red by the sun, and trying to communicate with a guide whose accent is, well, undecipherable; his hopelessness and frustration is palpable.’
    • ‘The gigantic, bipedal, elephantine creatures weighed several tons at the largest and had no problem knocking the eighty-foot trees aside as they ran.’
    • ‘He hasn't changed that recommendation, even though it's still unclear if the oilfields of Lake Albert really are of elephantine proportions.’
    • ‘Perhaps I ought to louver that elephantine window.’
    • ‘Though the size of the new card remains the same as the previous ones, the 32 Kilobytes Subscriber Identity Module card is said to have an elephantine memory in addition to its several genie-like features.’
    • ‘His examples are ‘the geometry of a young Japanese woman walking down a Parisian street or a Dutchman made to feel clumsy, elephantine, in a traditional Japanese house or inn.’’
    enormous, huge, great, massive, giant, immense, tremendous, colossal, mammoth, gargantuan, vast, prodigious, gigantic, monumental, stupendous, titanic, monstrous, very big, very large
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Early 17th century: via Latin from Greek elephantinos, from elephas, elephant- ‘elephant’.