Definition of albatross
1 : any of a family (Diomedeidae) of large web-footed seabirds that have long slender wings, are excellent gliders, and include the largest seabirds
2a : something that causes persistent deep concern or anxietyb : something that greatly hinders accomplishment : encumbrance Fame has become an albatross that prevents her from leading a normal life.
Examples of albatross in a Sentence
Fame has become an albatross that prevents her from leading a normal and happy life.
Fame has become an albatross around her neck.
Recent Examples of albatross from the Web
His contract wasn’t going to be an Enes Kanter-like albatross going forward, but Presti will find himself in a significantly more flexible salary cap position next summer if George does walk.
In recent years the triangle had become an albatross for the team, with head coach Jeff Hornacek admitting that the slower-than-usual style of play prevents players from signing with the Knicks.
The Biyombo contract, in particular, is an albatross to the Magic.
After eight years of phenomenal growth by upending the taxi business, Uber had reached a point where the culture that created the company had become an albatross that threatened to kill it.
President Donald Trump now hangs around Karen Handel’s neck like an albatross, turning an easy GOP claim on the Sixth District into a nail-biter.
Now the fund managers must figure out what to do with their albatross.
The money that this albatross has sucked from the city would be better spent on youth programs to keep kids safe.
Government is not simply an albatross around the neck of otherwise free individuals.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'albatross'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Why is albatross used to refer to a burden?
The albatross is an exceedingly large seabird, having a wingspan as much as 11 feet across. It is a magnificent glider, capable of staying aloft for hours at a time without flapping its wings, and tends to remain almost entirely at sea, typically coming ashore only to breed.
In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1798 poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the titular mariner kills an albatross that has been following his ship, bringing down a curse that leads to the death of all other crew members. As a punishment, the crew hang the dead bird from the mariner’s neck, and he remains alive to witness the ship’s fate unfold. This potent emblem led to the coining of a metaphorical meaning for albatross as something that causes anxiety or guilt or that burdens and encumbers.
Origin and Etymology 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: 1672See Words from the same year
ALBATROSS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of albatross for English Language Learners
: a large white ocean bird that has very long wings
: a continuing problem that makes it difficult or impossible to do or achieve something
ALBATROSS Defined for Kids
Definition of albatross for Students
: a very large seabird with webbed feet
Seen and Heard
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