American English

Definition of white elephant noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary


white elephant

[usually singular]
jump to other results
a thing that is useless and no longer needed, although it may have cost a lot of money The new office building has become an expensive white elephant. From the story that in Siam (now Thailand) the king would give a white elephant as a present to someone that he did not like. That person would have to spend all their money on looking after the rare animal.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: white elephant