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.
Well, Well, Well': Cross-Gendered Autobiography and the Manuscript of'Hills Like White Elephants.
6) During the sojourn of the white elephant in London, these messages were contested and negotiated as people sought entertainment, perused pages of advertisements and purchased seemingly innocuous bars of soap.
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.
A white elephant captured in October in a jungle area of Myanmar was welcomed in Yangon on Thursday with pomp and festivities, according to state-run newspapers published Friday.
Before you know it, you'll have a white elephant on your hands.
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?
But these claims completely ignore how advances in communications technology will render the project Britain's biggest white elephant.
SIR - On balance, I am inclined to agree with the comments on BBC Wales Today, that the proposed Circuit for Wales motor track will be a white elephant.