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elephants' graveyard (plural elephants' graveyards)

  1. A place where, according to legend, older elephants instinctively direct themselves when they reach a certain age, in order to die alone.
  2. (by extension) A place where lost objects or people end up, and from which there is no escape.
    • 1984, John F. Williams, Career Preparation and Opportunities in International Law, page 94:
      John F. Williams, Paul Clifford. low rate, on the other hand may mean that the legal department is an "elephants' graveyard," from which no escape is possible.
    • 1997, Carole Nelson Douglas, Cat with an Emerald Eye: A Midnight Louie Mystery, page 56:
      I actually wonder for a moment if my kind has an elephants' graveyard where those of us free to do so withdraw as our lives dwindle down to the ninth one's final moments.
    • 2012, Katerine Swift, The Morville Year:
      I suppose every garden has one: an elephants' graveyard of discarded labels.