from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An elephant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An obsolete form of elephant.
  • n. A hunter's or warrior's horn made of ivory: used in the middle ages, more frequently as a decorative piece of furniture than as a musical instrument.


From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman oliphant ("ivory, elephant") and Old French oliphant ("ivory, elephant, musical horn of ivory"), from Latin elephantus ("elephant"), from Ancient Greek ἐλέφας (elephas, "ivory, elephant"). (Wiktionary)


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  • Culture24: 'Culture Minister Barbara Follett has placed a temporary export bar on a medieval carved ivory oliphant or hunting horn valued at £3.35million.'

    June 6, 2009

  • Is oliphaunt a variant spelling, or just weirdness?

    August 6, 2008

  • Originally, in Middle English, Old French, Breton, Welsh, Cornish: elephant. The refashioning of oliphant after Lat. elephantum seems to have taken place earlier in England than in France, the French forms with el- being cited only from the 15th century.

    August 6, 2008