see a pink elephant—have visionary hallucinations caused by alcoholism (also: see pink elephants):
- One time when I got loaded on beer I heard water running when there was none and I did see a pink elephant.
see the elephant—(U.S. coll.) gain worldly experience (having been to far-off places, visiting sights, etc.):
- He is quite well able to take care of himself; he has seen the elephant.