Definitions

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.pl. An order of running birds including the ostrich, emu, and allies; the Ratitaæ.
  • n.pl. A group of running spiders; the wolf spiders.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In ornithology: An order of birds, the struthious or ratite birds, corresponding to the Ratitæ of Merrem (1813), or the Brevipennes of Cuvier (1817): so called from the swift-footedness of most of these flightless birds. In Sundevall's system of classification, the fourth cohort of Grallatores, composed of the plovers, bustards, cranes, rails, and all other wading birds not included in his Limicolæ, Pelargi, or Herodii. Brevirostres is a synonym. In Illiger's system (1811), the fifth order of birds, uniting the struthious with the charadriomorphic birds: divided into Proceri (the struthious birds), Campestres (the bustards alone), and Littorales (the plovers and plover-like birds).
  • In entomology, a group of spiders, such as the wolf-spiders (Lycosidæ), which make no webs, but capture their prey by swift pursuit. See Citigrada.

Etymologies

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