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(ĕl'əfăntī`nē), island, SE Egypt, in the Nile below the First Cataract, near Aswan. In ancient times it was a military post guarding the southern frontier of Egypt. The Elephantine papyruses, which date from the 5th cent. B.C. and describe a colony of Jewish mercenaries, were found there. Surviving ruins are extensive. The ancient nilometer, built to gauge the water level of the Nile, was restored in 1870.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the ancient Greek name of an island on the Nile opposite Aswan and of the ancient settlement on it. Elephantine was the center for Egypt’s trade in ivory and other goods with the South; it was also the capital of a nome. Notable structures include the remains of temples from the Old and Middle kingdoms, a granite triumphal arch from the fourth century B.C., and a nilometer described by Strabo, with marks of the highest water levels. Tombs of nomarchs have been preserved, as well as a necropolis with the mummies of sacred rams entombed in stone sarcophagi. Papyri from the 25th century B.C. and archives of local nomarchs and a Judaic military colony have been found on Elephantine.


Meyer, E. Der Papyrusfund von Elephantine. Leipzig, 1912.
Müller, H. W. Die Felsengräber der Fürsten von Elephantine. Hamburg-New York, 1940.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Used of programs or systems that are both conspicuous hogs (owing perhaps to poor design founded on brute force and ignorance) and exceedingly hairy in source form. An elephantine program may be functional and even friendly, but (as in the old joke about being in bed with an elephant) it's tough to have around all the same (and, like a pachyderm, difficult to maintain). In extreme cases, hackers have been known to make trumpeting sounds or perform expressive proboscatory mime at the mention of the offending program. Usage: semi-humorous. Compare "has the elephant nature" and the somewhat more pejorative monstrosity. See also second-system effect and baroque.
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References in periodicals archive ?
F., The Aramaic and Egyptian Legal Traditions at Elephantine. An Egyptological Approach (Library of Second Temple Studies 64), London-New York: T&T Clark, 2009.
Hosea was stationed in Memphis as representative and commercial agent of a Jewish business consortium from Elephantine. Hosea son of Natan sent letters Nos.
Can you picture a row of elephantine clunkers waiting for the light to change at a frenetic intersection of Hong Kong?
Arranged in sections on the three areas of study, the 28 papers discuss such matters as the career of some Elephantine and Murasu scribes and witnesses, Phoenician and Aramaic inscriptions from Abusir, the state of modern Syriac lexicography, 12 published and unpublished Jewish Aramaic ostraca written in the "Jewish" cursive script, philological notes on the David-Bathsheba story, the role of the governor in Persian imperial administration, and personal names as pejorative puns in ancient texts.
The robust and wrinkled elephantine haunches of the larger one (Acrobate, 20 12) conjoin a buoyant spherical rump, which is crowned by a knobby protuberance and a kinky hair-lined orifice just below.
The small boutique Elephantine just off Gemmayzeh's main road sells quirky inexpensive handmade paper in all sorts of colorful animal motifs, perfect for the project.
Ahn's intention to run has gotten clearer, and the DUP faces another elephantine challenge: How to select a single candidate between Moon and Ahn.
43- year- old Khera's key attribute is his razor- sharp, almost elephantine memory.
The real-life Belfort, who wrote two books about his scandal days, once admitted he "drowned my guilt and remorse beneath elephantine doses of recreational drugs."
Four bars are also available including The Yasmin Vitamin Bar and Lounge overlooking the pool and gardens, and La Promenade located on the hotel's rose granite walkway with views of Elephantine Island.