noun \ˈäs-trich, ˈs- also -trij\

: a very large African bird that runs very fast but cannot fly

Full Definition of OSTRICH

a :  a swift-footed 2-toed flightless ratite bird (Struthio camelus) of Africa that is the largest of existing birds and often weighs 300 pounds (140 kilograms)
b :  rhea
c :  leather made from ostrich skin
[from the belief that the ostrich when pursued hides its head in the sand and believes itself to be unseen] :  one who attempts to avoid danger or difficulty by refusing to face it
os·trich·like \-ˌlīk\ adjective

Origin of OSTRICH

Middle English, from Anglo-French ostriz, ostrige, from Vulgar Latin *avis struthio, from Latin avis bird + Late Latin struthio ostrich — more at struthious
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Birds Terms

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


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Two-toed, long-necked ratite (Struthio camelus, family Struthionidae) found in Africa, the largest living bird. An adult male ostrich may be nearly 9 ft (2.75 m) tall and weigh more than 330 lb (150 kg). Males are black, with white wing and tail plumes; females are brown. Ostriches live in flocks of 5–50, usually among grazing animals, and eat plants and an occasional small animal. Roaring, hissing males fight for three to five hens, which lay 15–60 eggs in a communal nest scraped in the ground. The male sits at night; the females take turns by day. One-month-old chicks can run with adults, at 40 mph (65 km/hr). To escape detection, an ostrich may lie on the ground with its neck outstretched, a habit that may have given rise to the notion that ostriches bury their heads in the sand.


Next Word in the Dictionary: ostrich fern
Previous Word in the Dictionary: ostreophagous
All Words Near: ostrich

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up ostrich? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).