noun \ˈal-bə-ˌtrs, -ˌträs\

: a large white ocean bird that has very long wings

: a continuing problem that makes it difficult or impossible to do or achieve something

plural al·ba·tross or al·ba·tross·es

Full Definition of ALBATROSS

:  any of a family (Diomedeidae) of large web-footed seabirds that have long slender wings, are excellent gliders, and include the largest seabirds
a :  something that causes persistent deep concern or anxiety
b :  something that greatly hinders accomplishment :  encumbrance

Examples of ALBATROSS

  1. Fame has become an albatross that prevents her from leading a normal and happy life.
  2. Fame has become an albatross around her neck.

Illustration of ALBATROSS


probably alteration of obsolete alcatrace frigate bird, from Spanish or Portuguese alcatraz pelican, from Arabic al-ghaṭṭās, a kind of sea eagle
First Known Use: 1672

Other Birds Terms

aerie, bunting, clutch, covey, hackle, ratite, rictus, ruff, skein, zygodactyl


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of more than a dozen species of large seabirds (family Diomedeidae). Albatrosses are among the most spectacular gliders of all birds; in windy weather they can stay aloft for hours without flapping their wings. They drink seawater and usually eat squid. Albatrosses come ashore only to breed, in colonies typically established on remote oceanic islands. Adults of common species attain wingspans of 7–11 ft (200–350 cm). Albatrosses live long and may be among the few birds to die of old age. They were once held in awe by seamen, who held that killing one would bring bad luck.


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