Meaning of white elephant

white' el'ephant

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a possession unwanted by the owner but difficult to dispose of: Our Victorian bric-a-brac and furniture were white elephants.
  2. a possession entailing great expense out of proportion to its usefulness or value to the owner: When he bought the mansion he didn't know it was going to be such a white elephant.
  3. an abnormally whitish or pale elephant, usually found in Thailand; an albino elephant.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.