Definition of albatross
- Fame has become an albatross that prevents her from leading a normal life.
Fame has become an albatross that prevents her from leading a normal and happy life.
Fame has become an albatross around her neck.
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.
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.
First Known Use: 1672See Words from the same year
What made you want to look up albatross? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
having a quality expressive of sadness
Get Word of the Day daily email!