800 pound gorilla
"800 pound gorilla" is an American English expression for a person or organization so powerful that it can act without regard to the rights of others or the law. The phrase is rooted in a riddle:
"Where does an 800 lb. gorilla sit?"
"Anywhere it wants to."
This highlights the disparity of power between the "800 lb. gorilla" and everything else.
The term can describe a powerful geopolitical and military force, or, in business, a powerful corporate entity that has such a large majority percentage of whatever market they compete within that they can use that strength to crush would-be competitors. (The metaphor includes an inherent bit of hyperbole; the highest weight yet recorded for an actual gorilla is 600 lb (270 kg).)
The metaphor has been mixed, on occasion, with the metaphor of the elephant in the room. Examples include television advertisements which were broadcast in 2010 for the financial firm AXA Equitable. In 2011, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee referred to the healthcare plan instituted by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as "the 800-pound elephant in the room".
- Stevens, Heidi. "The 800-pound grammar gorilla," Chicago Tribune. January 05, 2011; retrieved 2013-8-3.
- "AXA Equitable's 800lb Gorilla Joy Ride Commercial". youtube.com. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- "Huckabee: Romney should apologize for health plan", Associated Press, February 24, 2011
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