Date: Wed, 20 Mar 1996 13:53:48 -0500
From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM
Subject: Re: see the elephant
Sorry to chime in so late on this topic and my apologies if someone
has already noted that an article on the phrase "to see the elephant"
appeared in The Pacific Historian, volume 12, no. 1, Winter 1968,
pages 23-29. One of the key sources in the article is Barrere and
Leland, A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon and Cant.
I hadn't even been aware that there had been a discussion of
this topic, but there is a very extensive entry on this phrase
in the RH Historical Dict. of American Slang s.v. elephant.
An interesting and much earlier parallel which I only encountered
recently is _see the lions,_ in OED2 from 1590.
jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]panix.com