elephant juice

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Etymology 1[edit]

From its use as a tranquilizer for large animals.


elephant juice (uncountable)

  1. (slang) Etorphine.
    1. Used as a stimulant for horses.
      • 1985 November 28, Bill Marx, “‘Elephant juice’ drug found in Breeders' Cup turf horse”, in Orlando Sentinel[1], archived from the original on 5 January 2016:
        Etorphine, a morphine analog, is a powerful stimulant known as "elephant juice" because it is used to tranquilize large circus animals. Given in small dosage, it acts as a stimulant. "It ranges up to 10,000 times more powerful than morphine," the New York Daily News quoted one expert as saying. "If there is one drug that does not belong in the body of the thoroughbred it is etorphine. Even a slight overdose could kill a horse."
      • 1988, David Foster, The Pale Blue Crochet Coathanger Cover:
        You mean that elephant juice they use to dope horses?
      • 2004 December 28, Andrew Eddy, “The drugs challenge”, in The Age[2], archived from the original on 23 August 2014:
        ETORPHINE (elephant juice) A tranquiliser for large animals such as elephants, it can be a most powerful stimulant if applied correctly to horses. Caused a sensation in WA racing, especially in the 1980s.
    2. Taken as a drug by humans.
      • 1967, Louis E. Lomax, Thailand: The War that Is, the War that Will Be, Random House, page 142:
        To take a ride, one sucked Elephant juice through the reed until the water level disappeared beneath the husk. As applause and cheers rang to the ceiling, the host added water to the Elephant for the next partygoer []
      • 2002, Richard Lawrence Miller, The Encyclopedia of Addictive Drugs, Westport, Conn.; London: Greenwood Press, →ISBN, pages 157–158:
        Etorphine [] Informal Names: Elephant Juice [] When humans in an experiment received etorphine they experienced euphoria and described the drug as feeling like morphine. Researchers who administered etorphine in that experiment concluded that the drug is likely to be abused. Misuse has been noted in China.

Etymology 2[edit]

When spoken with no sound, the phrase generates a similar pattern of lip movements to saying "I love you". It was popularised by the 1999 film Elephant Juice.


elephant juice

  1. (slang, neologism) Used as a substitute for I love you.