“Elephant in the room” or ” Elephant in the living room ‘ is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.
It is based on the idea/thought that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook.
In 1814, Ivan Andreevich Krylov (1769-1844), wrote a fable entitled “The Inquisitive Man” which tells of a man who goes to a museum and notices all sorts of tiny things, but fails to notice an elephant. The phrase became proverbial. Fyodor Dostoevsky in his novel ‘Demons’ wrote, ‘Belinsky was just like Krylov’s Inquisitive Man, who didn’t notice the elephant in the museum.’
The term refers to a question, problem, solution, or controversial issue which is obvious to everyone who knows about the situation, but which is deliberately ignored because to do otherwise would cause great embarrassment, or trigger arguments or is simply taboo. The idiom can imply a value judgement that the issue ought to be discussed openly, or it can simply be an acknowledgement that the issue is there and not going to go away by itself.