We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Ivory Tower?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 02, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An ivory tower is used to represent a person aloof, or disengaged from the struggle and strife of the world. It is often applied to intellectuals and college professors, or simply to the extremely naïve, in a negative sense. The basic concept is that a person can theorize about the world all he or she wishes from the protective walls of a college, but that to live in it, without the benefit of an ivory tower, gives one a more realistic sense of how philosophy or art applies.

The term is first used in the Old Testament in the Song of Solomon. Solomon praised the neck of his beloved by comparing it to “a tower of ivory,” in 7:4. Homer uses a similar term in his Odyssey, discussing the fatuous nature of those who come from an ivory gate. Ivory may suggest one who is naïve, to Homer. On the other hand Solomon’s usage connects to purity and beauty.

In the 19th century, French poet, Charles-Augustin Saint Beuve, used the expression to criticize and compare Alfred de Vigny to Victor Hugo. Saint Beuve felt de Vigny had a certain naivety and removal from the world that Hugo fortunately was without. Hugo waded in the muck of it, while de Vigny “retired before noon” in his tour d’ivoire.

It's clear that ivory is strong, rare, and pure. Although now, ivory often holds the connotation of elephant poaching, this would not have been a great concern to Saint Beuve. Ivory was associated with value, and not with the illegal ivory trade. The purity of ivory, and thus the ivory tower also expresses a certain youth or virginal quality, and again the term naivety. One who hides in an ivory tower is clearly one who lacks experience.

In present usage, an ivory tower represents a state of removal from the world. The person in the ivory tower fails to be touched by the realities of life and thus has a skewed or innocent perspective. Pronouncements from an ivory tower have little merit because they are not realistic.

One looks, for example, at the many celebrities who seem to effortlessly keep looking young and thin. If they question why it is not simple for others to remain thin or beautiful, the average person, who does not have access to things like trained dietitians, personal trainers, and plastic surgeons, often takes this with great annoyance. Attitude toward personal appearance from the celebrity is from an ivory tower of wealth and privilege restricted to the few.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor...
Learn more
Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.