Pronounced: SAG-uh-more, noun
Notes: A handy word to know
The phrase white elephant means
- a property requiring much care and expense and yielding little profit
- an object no longer of value to its owner but of value to others
Background / Comments
The original white elephant was a sacred animal in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar. Because it was sacred, it could not be used as a beast of burden; it was instead a ‘burdensome beast’, as it ate a lot, but brought no money to its owner. There is a story (I’ve heard it) that kings of Siam (Thailand now) gave white elephants as gifts to those they wished to ruin due to the cost of maintaining the animal.
This word showed up in the mid-1800s