Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A large, swift-running flightless bird (Struthio camelus) of Africa, characterized by a long bare neck, small head, and two-toed feet. It is the largest living bird.
  • n. A rhea.
  • n. One who tries to avoid disagreeable situations by refusing to face them.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large flightless bird (Struthio camelus) native to Africa.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large bird of the genus Struthio, of which Struthio camelus of Africa is the best known species. It has long and very strong legs, adapted for rapid running; only two toes; a long neck, nearly bare of feathers; and short wings incapable of flight. The adult male is about eight feet high.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A very large ratite bird of the genus Struthio.
  • n. Four species of ostriches are now recognized, the name Struthis camelus being restricted to the northern species that ranges into Arabia. S. molybdophanes is from Somaliland, and S. meridionalis or masaicus from Central Africa. The southern species, S. australis, is the one that has been partially domesticated and is kept in ostrich-farms for the sake of its feathers. The eggs of these species differ quite as much as do the birds themselves, that of S. camelus being quite smooth while the others are more or less deeply pitted.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. fast-running African flightless bird with two-toed feet; largest living bird
  • n. a person who refuses to face reality or recognize the truth (a reference to the popular notion that the ostrich hides from danger by burying its head in the sand)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French ostrusce, ostrice and Medieval Latin ostrica, both from Vulgar Latin *avis strūthiō : Latin avis, bird; + Late Latin strūthiō, ostrich; see struthious.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman ostrige and Old French ostruce, from Latin avis ("bird") + strūthiō ("ostrich"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "There is something obscene about a running ostrich, with the pounding hackney action of its great bare pink legs, its plumage bouncing like a ballet skirt in a third-rate opera. In my car I paced one at over thirty-six miles per hour....Not till the ostrich was within thirty yards of him did he stop dancing, snatch the towel from his head and flap it at the bird. Greatly to my relief the creature swerved, braking hard, and came to a dead stop. 'Look now,' cried Wanyuki, 'he pretends to be dead'. He wants me to go close up to him, when he would jump up and kill me with his foot'."
    Ruth Eaden, "Outwitting the Ostrich", The Countryman, Autumn, 1957, p.429.

    October 2, 2009

  • Yeah, I feel that way some days.

    October 5, 2007

  • Supposedly an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain!

    October 5, 2007