"I've been to the city and I've seen the elephant."
Posted by ESC on July 04, 2006
In Reply to: "I've been to the city and I've seen the elephant." posted by David on July 04, 2006
: I hope someone can help with this saying. I think it's a US western origin, and has to do with becoming worldly-wise. "I've been to the city and I've seen the elephant." I seem to remember that the "elephant" referred to some sort of machinery or invention, and not the actual animal.
Here's a variation. I'll look for the original. I'm guessing that it really does refer to an elephant.
BEEN TO THE CIRCUS AND SEEN THE MONKEY - "(Attorney Jack) Smith said he did not know (Dick) Murgatroyd until he was hired. Asked how Murgatroyd heard of him, Smith answered that he's 'been around for a long time.' 'I have a lot of experiences," he said. "I've been to the circus and seen the monkey.'." From "Murgatroyd hires top lawyer: Louisville's Jack Smith retained in political hiring investigation," article in the Kentucky Enquirer, June 8, 2005.