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What does "An elephant never forgets" mean?

I know its some science theory but why is it a quote and saying? what is it suppose to mean that way? cus i see it on shirts and it must mean more than the theory

7 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    AN ELEPHANT NEVER FORGETS - "First attested in the United States in 'Blue Ridge' (1937) by W. Martyn. The proverb is probably of Greek origin. The Greeks sometimes say, 'The camel never forgets an injury,' according to Burton Stevenson. 'To have a memory like an elephant' is used as a figure of speech." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" (1996) by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

    A second reference adds to this and has an earlier citation date: "Said of someone with a prodigious memory, usually for slights and wrongs. It was not the memory of the elephant but that of the camel that was renowned amongst the Greeks long ago. A Greek proverb ran 'Camels never forget an injury.' Proverbial reference to the elephant's memory is relatively recent. In 'Reginald: Reginald on Besetting Sins' (1910), the camel is usurped by the elephant: 'Women and elephants never forget an injury.' The author, Saki, was no stranger to elephants having been born in Burma and lived there, and would have appreciated the intelligence of the animal. The working elephant memorises a large number of commands given by the mahout and recognizes many other animals and people, thus remembering both kindnesses and injuries. Since its life-span is 50 or 60 years these memories are long-lived. Usage: Usually said of a person who does not forget injuries, but an 'elephantine memory' could just be a good one." From the "Dictionary of Proverbs and their Origins" by Linda and Roger Flavell (First published in the UK by Kyle Cathie Ltd, Barnes and Noble Inc, 1997, New York).

    The origin of the phrase seems to go back to observations that elephants follow the same paths and even hand down genetic memories of directions and places grounds across generations. Each elephant clan has a certain burial place, like many human communities, and always help the dying ones get back there if they are not killed traumatically first.

    The most famous example of the tenacity of memory of elephants is illustrated in the story "Elephant Walk," which was made into a movie in the 40s, or perhaps early 50s. This is the true story of a British colonial villa which was built across a traditional elephant walk in India. The elephants were confused and enraged to find their way blocked, and every year at the same time, the villa staff would have to defend the villa and deflect the herds around it so they could get from one side of the offending villa in their traditional migration.

    Finally the elephants could not be dissuaded, and one year in rage they finally stormed on through the villa, destroying it and killing many of the people, restoring the traditional road.

    In addition to their travel and burial patterns, it has been demonstrated in the 20th century that elephants also have a high friendship skill with humans, as well as develping lasting relationships with other elephants, and in fact do remember individuals of the human and their own species even when separated for decades.

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  • nadem
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Elephant Never Forget

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  • 4 years ago

    Pretty so much the identical as "Do unto others .... and so forth", in different phrases, do not mess with me, or you'll be able to get what is coming to you, or, "What is going circular comes circular" ... or if on a T blouse, was once the wearer a instead massive, intimidating individual you had been larger told to not make eye touch with? Other than that, you have obtained me!

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  • 10 years ago

    Pretty much the same as "Do unto others .... etc", in other words, don't mess with me, or you'll get what's coming to you, or, "What goes round comes round" ... or if on a T shirt, was the wearer a rather large, intimidating person you were better advised not to make eye contact with?

    Other than that, you've got me!

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  • 10 years ago

    It means that the people who wear such shirts have something that they will never forget either. Militant Jews are associated with the expression "Never again." (The Holocaust.) It means much the same thing.

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  • 10 years ago

    Elephants have the reputation to have an excellent memory. They can recognize people years and years after the first encounter.

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  • Rose
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Exactly what it says. They have very retentive memories.

    Why people have it on T shirts is by choice or because they were going cheaply.

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