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.

Jesse Sheidlower