s'identifiers'identifier

white elephant


Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) expensive and wasteful project

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

A white éléphant is a rare, expensive possession that is a financial burden to maintain. The phrase is also used to refer to something of dubious or limited value, an article, ornament, or household utensil no longer wanted by its owner.

French translation

réalisation couteuse et peu rentable, fardeau financier, usine à gaz

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Examples in context

‘HS2 go-ahead sees mixed reaction

The British Chambers of Commerce said the plan would be welcomed by "businesses up and down the country". But critics say the route will damage the environment and dispute projected benefits of up to £47bn, describing the scheme as a "white elephant"’

BBC News, 10 June 2012

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’Fears that Olympic stadium could become white elephant. Owner may not be known by end of Games as legacy company seeks new ’interested parties’’

The independent, 15 Aug. 2012

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Everyday usage

Bob’s father-in-law has given him an old Rolls Royce, but it’s a real white elephant. He has no place to park it and can’t afford the gas for it.

Those antique vases Aunt Mary gave me are white elephants. They’re ugly and I have no place to put them.

The new factory has proved to be a white elephant.

b) precious gift

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) endangered species

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.


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