Meaning of oliphant in English:


Pronunciation /ˈɒlɪf(ə)nt/


(also olifant)
archaic, historical
  • 1An elephant.

  • 2A horn or trumpet made of ivory; (Scottish) ivory used to make a horn (obsolete).


Middle English; earliest use found in Layamon (fl. 1250), poet. From Anglo-Norman olifan, olifant, oliphant, ollifaunt, holifaunt and Old French olifan, olifant, oliphant, etc., ivory, musical horn made of ivory, elephant, apparently representing a post-classical Latin variant of classical Latin elephant-, elephantus (also elephans, elephas) elephant. Compare Middle Dutch olifant (Dutch olifant), Old Occitan olifan elephant, Italian olifante musical horn. Compare also Breton olifant elephant, (in plural) ivory, and Welsh †oliffant elephant, ivory, which may be from Middle English or Old French.