These three micro-dictations all contain the expression ‘the elephant in the room’. Complete each exercise, and then try to guess the meaning/usage of the expression from the context.
Accent: North America
…we’re facing bankruptcy…
We use the verb face with something negative (such as problems or challenges) to say that it is a real possibility or likely to happen. e.g. After a very disappointing year, we’re facing the closure of our flagship store.
…seriously low morale…
The word morale describes the level of motivation, positivity and enthusiasm of an individual or a group of people. We can talk about morale being high or low, or ways to ‘lift’ or ‘boost’ morale. e.g. My company tried to boost morale by taking us all on a team building weekend, but it really didn’t work.
…the boss refuses to address it…
If you address a problem or issue, then you engage with it or deal with it. e.g. It’s vital that we address these complaints in an efficient and professional manner.
the elephant in the room: meaning and explanation
An elephant in the room is a phrase used for a big problem or issue that everyone is aware of but which no one is talking about.
This phrase can be used to describe a situation (as with micro-dictations one and two), or to try to force people to confront the problem and stop ignoring it. e.g. I hate to be the one to bring up the elephant in the room, but we all know that there’s real chance that our department is going to be shut down in the next few weeks.