White Elephant

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A possession or project that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of and provides little to no value or benefit.


  • “The new state-of-the-art office building was supposed to be a crown jewel, but it turned out to be a white elephant. It required extensive repairs and renovations that were beyond the budget.”


The term “white elephant” originates from ancient Southeast Asian culture, where white elephants were considered sacred and highly valuable. Kings would give white elephants as gifts to individuals they wanted to honor, but the high cost of caring for them often put the recipients in financial ruin. As a result, the term “white elephant” came to mean a costly burden that provided little value.

I hope that explanation helps! Let me know if you have any other idioms you’d like me to explain.

English Vocabularya rotten egga dog in the mangera piece of cakea hot potatoa man of lettersa fish out of water
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Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at Camford Publishing
Founder of On the Horizon (camford publishing)and The Technology Source, and professor of education at North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr. Morrison is author and co-author of over 200 publications focusing on educational planning and using information technology tools.Dr. Morrison has delivered numerous conference presentations and workshops for associations such as EDUCAUSE, AAHE, the College Board and others.He has served as a planning consultant to a number of colleges, universities, university systems, community colleges, educational agencies and public agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor, and Department of the Army.His consulting activities focus on assisting organizations to integrate information technology tools in teaching and management.

The title of his Speech is “The Future of Distance Learning.” Professor Morrison will describe the driving forces that will affect education and distance learning in this decade and will focus on the implications of these forces for education and distance learning
Dr. James Morrison
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