black elephant

(名詞) 目前不太可能發生,但每個人都知道確實存在卻又不願提及或討論,或者故意裝作不知道、視若無睹的重大風險。這個片語是由 black swan (極度罕見但會造成重大影響的事件) + elephant in the room (目前存在或顯而易見、但不被承認或被忽視的棘手問題) 拼綴而成。

“Currently,” said Sweidan, “there are a herd of environmental black elephants gathering out there” — global warming, deforestation, ocean acidification, mass extinction and massive fresh water pollution. “When they hit, we’ll claim they were black swans no one could have predicted, but, in fact, they are black elephants, very visible right now.”
—Thomas L. Friedman, “Stampeding Black Elephants,” The New York Times, November 22, 2014

Cybersecurity is like a “black elephant” — a dangerous crossbreed between the “black swan” risk (capable of producing unexpected outcomes with enormous consequences) and the “elephant in the room” (a large problem that is in plain sight).
—David N. Lawrence, “We Don’t Need a Crisis to Act Unitedly Against Cyber Threats,” Knowledge@Wharton, June 1, 2015