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[el-uh-fan-teen, -tahyn, -tin, el-uh-fuh n-teen, -tahyn] /ˌɛl əˈfæn tin, -taɪn, -tɪn, ˈɛl ə fənˌtin, -ˌtaɪn/

pertaining to or resembling an .
huge, ponderous, or clumsy:
elephantine movements; elephantine humor.
denoting, relating to, or characteristic of an elephant or elephants
huge, clumsy, or ponderous

1620s, “huge,” from Latin elephantinus “pertaining to the elephant,” from elephantus (see elephant). Meaning “pertaining to elephants” is from 1670s.

Used of programs or systems that are both conspicuous hogs (owing perhaps to poor design founded on brute force and ignorance) and exceedingly hairy in source form. An elephantine program may be functional and even friendly, but (as in the old joke about being in bed with an elephant) it’s tough to have around all the same (and, like a pachyderm, difficult to maintain). In extreme cases, hackers have been known to make trumpeting sounds or perform expressive proboscatory mime at the mention of the offending program. Usage: semi-humorous. Compare “has the elephant nature” and the somewhat more pejorative monstrosity. See also second-system effect and baroque.
[Jargon File]


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