The majestic and gentle elephant has inspired writers and artists throughout history. Here are some noteworthy quotes and proverbs about elephants. And if you’d like to learn more about cultural and spiritual depictions of elephants, visit UniGuide’s post on elephant meanings and symbolism. Enjoy!
In addition to appearing in proverbs, these beloved animals are the subject of many quotes:
“Only elephants should own ivory.”
– Yao Ming
“They say an elephant never forgets. What they don’t tell you is, you never forget an elephant.”
– Bill Murray
“The elephant is never won by anger; nor must that man who would reclaim a lion take him by the teeth.”
– John Dryden
“We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits: empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior.”
– Graydon Carter
“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant – the only harmless great thing.”
– John Donne
“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!”
– Dr. Seuss
“If elephants didn’t exist, you couldn’t invent one. They belong to a small group of living things so unlikely they challenge credulity and common sense.”
– Lyall Watson
“They say that somewhere in Africa the elephants have a secret grave where they go to lie down, unburden their wrinkled gray bodies, and soar away, light spirits at the end.”
– Robert McCammon
“There is no creature among all the Beasts of the world which hath so great and ample demonstration of the power and wisdom of almighty God as the Elephant.”
– Edward Topsell
In places areas where elephants are native, it’s not surprising that they are the subjects of many proverbs. However, even in other cultures, people are fascinated with elephants, and thus they appear in figures of speech even in places where they aren’t native. Here are some elephant proverbs from around the world:
When elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.
An elephant does not die from one broken rib.
An elephant does not get tired carrying his trunk.
Be thine enemy an ant, see in him an elephant.
A man’s greed is like a snake that wants to swallow an elephant.
A man who is trampled to death by an elephant is a man who is blind and deaf.
The elephant and the tiger do not go hunting on the same pasture.