see the elephant

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see the elephant (third-person singular simple present sees the elephant, present participle seeing the elephant, simple past saw the elephant, past participle seen the elephant)

  1. (US, obsolete, idiomatic) To witness something unexpected and awe-filling. [early 19th c. to Civil War]
  2. (US, American Civil War) To witness or participate in a battle.
  3. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see see,‎ the,‎ elephant.