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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Default What does "purple elephant" mean?

    I often see the word “purple elephant” when doing the reading. Sometimes it seems to appear in jokes. And I can’t find the phrase in the dictionary. Could you help me?

  2. #2
    shane is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What does "purple elephant" mean?

    I've heard of 'white elephant', but not 'purple elephant'

    Can you give an example of how it's used? :)

  3. #3
    jnsummer Guest

    Default Re: What does "purple elephant" mean?

    It could be like a 'blue moon'.

  4. #4
    lucyarliwu Guest

    Default Re: What does "purple elephant" mean?

    But what does " white elephant" mean then if "purple elephant" is "blue moon"??

  5. #5
    jnsummer Guest

    Default Re: What does "purple elephant" mean?

    All of these phrases refer to something that is either very rare or surprising.

    Such as 'as rare as hens teeth', once in a blue moon(it means that something almost never happens), white or purple or even pink elephants are used to describe things a bit weird or just non-existent. :o

    But they can all be used in much the same way. :wink:

  6. #6
    lucyarliwu Guest

    Default Re: What does "purple elephant" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnsummer
    All of these phrases refer to something that is either very rare or surprising.

    Such as 'as rare as hens teeth', once in a blue moon(it means that something almost never happens), white or purple or even pink elephants are used to describe things a bit weird or just non-existent. :o

    But they can all be used in much the same way. :wink:

    Thanks Jamie for your explanitions! ;) :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default

    Thank you all!

  8. #8
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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      • Interested in Language
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    Default

    How about Red Herring?
    Red5
    Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com

  9. #9
    lucyarliwu Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Red5
    How about Red Herring?

    What's that please?
    I donot know at least! :P :( :?
    Herring is a kind of fish,right? What color does it usually have ?
    What do you refer to when you mention "red herring'?

  10. #10
    John D Guest

    Default Re: What does "purple elephant" mean?

    Hi, :D


    Have not seen any references to purple elephants before.
    Pink elephants are usually seen when one is under the influence of alchohol or similar. Could be mistaken for purple at times, I suppose. Meaning not known.

    A white elephant is something that someone paid a lot of money for but it turns out to be quite useless. Decorative maybe but quite inadequate for the purpose they were intended. Example....Ashtrays for Harley motorcycles.

    A "red herring" is a false trail or path, used a lot in detective stories. One example.....It is a piece of misleading evidence that is deliberately left at the scene of a crime to make the police think an innocent person commited the crime.

    Another example......A Lapwing (Plover) will run away from its nest trailing what appears to be a broken wing so you will follow her away from the nest. She is laying a "red herring", or false trail.

    Hope this helps, :D

    John D.

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