"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 joke 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 obese gorilla is 600 lb. (270 kg). The average weight is 400 lb.)
- Stevens, Heidi. "The 800-pound grammar gorilla," Chicago Tribune. January 05, 2011; retrieved 2013-8-3.
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