white elephant

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White Elephant

An investment, especially in real estate, that is expensive, unprofitable, and difficult to sell. An example is a house that is overbuilt for its neighborhood. A white elephant is perhaps one of least desirable investments possible.

white elephant

Like the legendary white elephants of India, a property that is expensive to maintain, doesn't return any particular value, and can't realistically be sold to anyone else.

References in periodicals archive ?
Myanmar already has eight white elephants in captivity, most from the Ayeyarwaddy region.
Allusion, Word-Place, and the Central Conflict in Hemingway's 'Hills Like White Elephants.
7) The episode of the white elephant in London was no exception--but the way in which it tapped into racial ideologies was more subtle because it was an animal that was on display.
When his favourite white elephant was dying, King Thibaw desperately bestowed vast treasures on the animal--his forehead was decked with a spray of diamonds to ward off evil spirits, golden pendants were hung from his ears and a mirror specially ordered from France was installed above his gold feeding trough to reflect his glory.
Discovery of a white elephant is traditionally regarded as a good omen in the predominantly Buddhist country, so much so that kings in ancient times even waged wars to acquire one.
It may sometimes seem like a white elephant, but we believe there is no finer place to invest our lives -- in Buechner's words, "to proclaim as convincingly and, at the same time, as honestly as I can the most interesting thing I have found in this world .
We have white elephant sales, for example, of surplus or unwanted items.
Finally, the experiment would have to be carried out on lots of elephant moms, so that one might bear a prized transgenic (carrying altered genes) white elephant.
If not, will the government have to use our taxes to subsidise this white elephant probably for evermore?
WE can say at least this much for members of the Los Angeles City Council: They're committed to preserving the white elephant L.
A RARE white elephant has been caught in a jungle in western Burma, with locals hailing the find as an auspicious event that bodes well for the military state.
She added: "I've heard people using the words 'white elephant' about it but to me, a white elephant is only if you spend money on something that ends up unusable for what it's put up for.