800-Pound Gorilla

Also:
Eight-hundred pound gorilla
800/Eight-hundred lbs gorilla

Meaning of Idiom ‘800 Pound Gorilla’

An 800-pound gorilla is an organization, company, or entity that is so powerful it operates with no heed for the rules, laws or the rights of others; a company or organization that is so large and powerful it gets whatever it wants; the dominant force in an industry. 1Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.,2”800-pound gorilla.” Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. 2015. Farlex, Inc 25 Feb. 2020 https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/800-pound+gorilla,3“What Does ‘800 Pound Gorilla’ Mean? – Idiom Definition.” UsingEnglish.com, UsingEnglish.com LTD, www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/800+pound+gorilla.html.


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Usage

Eight-hundred pound gorilla is sometimes confused with the idiom elephant in the room to become ‘the 800-pound gorilla in the room.” These idioms can be sensibly merged, however, since a powerful company or organization can also be a subject that people do not wish to discuss. See the video above for full explanation.

Examples Of Use

“It’s amazing that Atari, the 800-pound gorilla of the video game industry, is hardly heard of anymore.”

“The oil industry is the 800-pound gorilla in our government. As long as our politicians work for oil lobbyists, nothing will ever change.”

“For any company that wants to compete in eCommerce, Amazon is the 800 lbs gorilla they must consider.”

Origin

This idiom most likely comes from a children’s riddle:

Q: Where does an 800-pound gorilla sit (or sleep)? 

A: Wherever it wants to.

It has been used figuratively since at least the 1950s. 4Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 4. Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.
2. ”800-pound gorilla.” Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. 2015. Farlex, Inc 25 Feb. 2020 https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/800-pound+gorilla
3. “What Does ‘800 Pound Gorilla’ Mean? – Idiom Definition.” UsingEnglish.com, UsingEnglish.com LTD, www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/800+pound+gorilla.html.