to see something so immense and powerful that it changes your life.
He thought he wanted to drop out and live off the grid, but one winter was all it took for him: he saw the elephant.
by m1ck December 11, 2007
a metaphor for having experienced combat
"Together, we saw the elephant." David Hackworth, Defending America, "Lest We Forget", 23 May 2000. http://www.hackworth.com/23may00.html
by Richard White December 30, 2005
(like in the circus) saw the main attraction, now (one) can go home
"maria, this museum sucks. we saw the elephant. let's book."
by lauren August 30, 2003