White Elephant


DEFINITION of 'White Elephant'

Any investment that nobody wants because it will most likely end up being unprofitable. An unprofitable investment, property or business that is so expensive to operate and maintain that it is extremely difficult to actually make a profit. An item whose cost of upkeep is not in line with how useful or valuable the item is.

BREAKING DOWN 'White Elephant'

The term 'White Elephant' is derived from Thailand. According to stories, an albino (white) elephant was given to unfavored people by the ruler. Because these elephants were sacred, they were not permitted to work. The elephants became a burden to the owner because the animals would deplete the owner's money in the form of maintenance costs until the owner became destitute.

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