Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


Sep 16, 2010
This week's theme
Fabled lands

This week's words
camelot
hades
never-never land
ivory tower
la-la land
The Anagram Times
Read it today

Discuss
Feedback
RSS/XML
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

ivory tower

PRONUNCIATION:
(EYE-vuh-ree TOU-uhr)

MEANING:
noun: A place or state of privileged seclusion, disconnected from practical matters and harsh realities of life.

ETYMOLOGY:
Translation of French tour d'ivoire, from tour (tower) + de (of) + ivoire (ivory). The term was first used in the figurative sense in 1837 by literary critic Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869).

NOTES:
The term is often applied to academia for its supposed preoccupation with lofty intellectual pursuits. While the term in its figurative sense is first attributed to the French critic Sainte-Beuve, it is found in the Song of Solomon 7:4 in a literal sense: "Your neck is like an ivory tower."

USAGE:
"In a democratic system, the true leaders have to remain constantly in touch with, and reach out to, the people and not remain like a king in an ivory tower."
C.L. Manoj; The Agony of the Hereditary Turks; The Economic Times (New Delhi, India); Aug 9, 2010.

See more usage examples of ivory tower in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest. -Douglas William Jerrold, playwright and humorist (1803-1857)

A.Word.A.Day by email:

Subscribe

"The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace."

The New York Times

Sponsored by:

Give the Gift of Words

Share the magic of words. Send a gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day.

Anu on Words:
Writer Magazine
Globe & Mail

Interact:

Bulletin board
Wordsmith Talk

Moderated Chat
Wordsmith Chat

Readers' Voice
AWADmail

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 2014 Wordsmith