This article possibly contains original research .(July 2021)
The expression “the elephant in the room” (or "the elephant in the living room")   is a metaphorical idiom in English for an important or enormous topic, question, or controversial issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable and is personally, socially, or politically embarrassing, controversial, inflammatory, or dangerous.  
It is based on the idea/thought that something as conspicuous as an elephant can appear to be overlooked in codified social interactions and that the sociology/psychology of repression also operates on the macro scale.
Various languages around the world have words that describe similar concepts.[ citation needed ]
In 1814, Ivan Krylov (1769–1844), poet and fabulist, wrote a fable entitled "The Inquisitive Man", which tells of a man who goes to a museum and notices all sorts of tiny things, but fails to notice an elephant. The phrase became proverbial.  Fyodor Dostoevsky in his novel Demons wrote, "Belinsky was just like Krylov's Inquisitive Man, who didn't notice the elephant in the museum...." 
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first recorded use of the phrase, as a simile, in The New York Times on June 20, 1959: "Financing schools has become a problem about equal to having an elephant in the living room. It's so big you just can't ignore it."  According to the website the Phrase Finder, the first known use in print is from 1952. 
This idiomatic expression may have been in general use much earlier than 1959. For example, the phrase appears 44 years earlier in the pages of the British Journal of Education in 1915. The sentence was presented as a trivial illustration of a question British schoolboys would be able to answer, e.g., "Is there an elephant in the class-room?" 
The first widely disseminated conceptual reference was a story written by Mark Twain in 1882, "The Stolen White Elephant", which recounts the inept, far-ranging activities of detectives trying to find an elephant that was right on the spot after all. This story, combined with Dostoyevsky's white bear, may have been on Jerome Frank's mind when he wrote in his dissent in United States v. Antonelli Fireworks (1946)  and again in dissent in United States v. Leviton (1951)  of "the Mark Twain story of the little boy who was told to stand in a corner and not to think of a white elephant."
The phrase may also be a response to philosopher Alfred North Whitehead's 1929 description  of the validity of immediate experience: "Sometimes we see an elephant, and sometimes we do not. The result is that an elephant, when present, is noticed."
In 1935, comedian Jimmy Durante starred on Broadway in the Billy Rose Broadway musical Jumbo , in which a police officer stops him as he leads a live elephant and asks, "What are you doing with that elephant?" Durante's reply, "What elephant?" was a regular show-stopper. Durante reprises the piece in the 1962 film version of the play, Billy Rose's Jumbo .
The term refers to a question, problem, solution, or controversial issue which is obvious to everyone who knows about the situation, but which is deliberately ignored because to do otherwise would cause great embarrassment, sadness, or arguments, or is simply taboo. The idiom can imply a value judgment that the issue ought to be discussed openly, or it can simply be an acknowledgment that the issue is there and not going to go away by itself.
The term is often used to describe an issue that involves a social taboo or which generates disagreement, such as race, religion, politics, homosexuality, mental illness, or suicide. It is applicable when a subject is emotionally charged; and the people who might have spoken up decide that it is probably best avoided. 
The idiom is commonly used in addiction recovery terminology to describe the reluctance of friends and family of an addicted person to discuss the person's problem, thus aiding the person's denial. Especially in reference to alcohol abuse, the idiom is sometimes coupled with that of the pink elephant, "the pink elephant in the room."[ citation needed ]
The expression has also been used as a metaphorical idiom in Spanish. In 1994, the 8000 Process was a legal investigation of a Colombian presidential campaign. There were accusations that the campaign of Colombian Liberal Party candidate Ernesto Samper was partially funded with drug money from the Cali Cartel. Insisting on his innocence, Samper stated that if drug money had entered the presidential campaign, it had done so "behind his back". Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, a leader of Colombia's Catholic Church, stated in an interview that not knowing that drug money financed part of the presidential campaign was similar to not noticing "an elephant entering one's living room".   Since then, the events that led to drug money financing the "Samper for President" campaign have been referred to as "The Elephant."
The title of Alan Clarke's 1989 television film Elephant references the term. This was in turn influential in the naming of Gus Van Sant's 2003 film of the same name, although Van Sant thought a different expression was being referenced. Alexandra Burke's 2012 single "Elephant" also uses the concept. 
A variation is the phrase "elephant in the corner" which is infrequently used to the same effect. 
Logician and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein used an example of a rhinoceros in the room either to show the impossibility of disproving negative existential statements, or possibly a more subtle philosophical point. 
The Berry paradox is a self-referential paradox arising from an expression like "The smallest positive integer not definable in under sixty letters".
A white elephant is a possession that its owner cannot dispose of, and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. In modern usage, it is a metaphor used to describe an object, construction project, scheme, business venture, facility, etc. considered expensive but without equivalent utility or value relative to its capital (acquisition) and/or operational (maintenance) costs.
Real life is a phrase used originally in literature to distinguish between the real world and fictional, virtual or idealized worlds, and in acting to distinguish between actors and the characters they portray. It has become a popular term on the Internet to describe events, people, activities, and interactions occurring offline; or otherwise not primarily through the medium of the Internet. It is also used as a metaphor to distinguish life in a vocational setting as opposed to an academic one, or adulthood and the adult world as opposed to childhood or adolescence.
A modus operandi is someone's habits of working, particularly in the context of business or criminal investigations, but also more generally. It is a Latin phrase, approximately translated as "mode of operating".
Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky was a Russian literary critic of Westernizing tendency. Belinsky played one of the key roles in the career of poet and publisher Nikolay Nekrasov and his popular magazine Sovremennik. He was the most influential of the Westernizers, especially among the younger generation. He worked primarily as a literary critic, because that area was less heavily censored than political pamphlets. He agreed with Slavophiles that society had precedence over individualism, but he insisted the society had to allow the expression of individual ideas and rights. He strongly opposed Slavophiles on the role of Orthodoxy, which he considered a retrograde force. He emphasized reason and knowledge, and attacked autocracy and theocracy.
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is an 1865 novella by Nikolai Leskov. It was originally published in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's magazine Epoch.
In statistics, classification is the problem of identifying which of a set of categories (sub-populations) an observation belongs to. Examples are assigning a given email to the "spam" or "non-spam" class, and assigning a diagnosis to a given patient based on observed characteristics of the patient.
In linguistics, redundancy refers to information that is expressed more than once.
Literal translation, direct translation or word-for-word translation, is a translation of a text done by translating each word separately, without looking at how the words are used together in a phrase or sentence.
In sociology, the term low culture identifies the forms of popular culture that have mass appeal, which is in contrast to the forms of high culture that appeal to a smaller proportion of the populace. Culture theory proposes that both high culture and low culture are subcultures within a society, because the culture industry mass-produces each type of popular culture for every socio-economic class.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky are literary translators best known for their collaborative English translations of classic Russian literature. Individually, Pevear has also translated into English works from French, Italian, and Greek. The couple's collaborative translations have been nominated three times and twice won the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize. Their translation of Dostoevsky's The Idiot also won the first Efim Etkind Translation Prize.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to thought (thinking):
"Seeing pink elephants" is a euphemism for hallucinations caused by delirium tremens or alcoholic hallucinosis, especially the former. The term dates back to at least the early 20th century, emerging from earlier idioms about seeing snakes and other creatures. An alcoholic character in Jack London's 1913 novel John Barleycorn is said to hallucinate "blue mice and pink elephants". Another notable instance of the appearance of pink elephants in popular culture is the "Pink Elephants on Parade" section of the 1941 Walt Disney animated film Dumbo.
An idiom is a common word or phrase with a figurative, non-literal meaning that is understood culturally and differs from what its composite words' denotations would suggest; i.e. the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. By another definition, an idiom is a speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements. For example, an English speaker would understand the phrase "kick the bucket" to mean "to die" – and also to actually kick a bucket. Furthermore, they would understand when each meaning is being used in context.