os·​trich | \ ˈä-strich How to pronounce ostrich (audio) , ˈȯ- also -strij \

Definition of ostrich

1a : 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
2 [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

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Other Words from ostrich

ostrichlike \ ˈä-​strich-​ˌlīk How to pronounce ostrich (audio) , ˈȯ-​ also  -​strij-​ \ adjective

Examples of ostrich in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The virtual sale featuring, among other things, a kaleidoscope of beauties in leather, ostrich, crocodile, even denim, exceeded estimates, netting more than $900,000. Leena Kim, Town & Country, "In the Midst of a Pandemic, Handbag Sales Are Breaking Records," 22 Feb. 2021 Chef Brian Poe’s Crane River Cheese Club grocery delivery service partners with Christina’s spice shop in Inman Square to offer an exotic spice kit, coupled with wild game, such as Japanese wagyu and ostrich, for Valentine’s meals. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "Guy Fieri brings Flavortown to Boston, a new bagel shop comes to Jamaica Plain, and a beloved bar returns," 11 Feb. 2021 Round and round went colorful horses, an ostrich, a car, a plane, a ship and a couple of Cinderella carriages. New York Times, "Paris, Shuttered, Must Be Imagined," 30 Jan. 2021 This is how a male ostrich performs his mating ritual. Tom Mcnamara, Popular Science, "Here’s the real story behind Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’," 3 Dec. 2020 Soreng pointed out beeches, pawpaw trees and silver maples, and a patch where spring brings a carpet of ostrich ferns. Washington Post, "Biologists say a wider American Legion Bridge would destroy critical research site," 11 Dec. 2020 In most subspecies, pairs mate in private, but the South African ostrich mates in front of any other females that might be around. Tom Mcnamara, Popular Science, "Here’s the real story behind Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’," 3 Dec. 2020 In fact, an ostrich’s arrival would be more plausible. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Baseball’s coronavirus-altered new rules: Should they stay or go?," 8 Nov. 2020 Menus featuring ostrich burgers, wild boar and venison offered different amino acid profiles. Nathan Fenno, Los Angeles Times, "UCLA football remains success-starved, but no program is eating richer," 27 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ostrich.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ostrich

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ostrich

Middle English, from Anglo-French ostriz, ostrige, from Vulgar Latin *avis struthio, from Latin avis bird + Late Latin struthio ostrich — more at struthious

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Time Traveler for ostrich

Time Traveler

The first known use of ostrich was in the 13th century

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Statistics for ostrich

Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ostrich.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ostrich. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for ostrich



English Language Learners Definition of ostrich

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


os·​trich | \ ˈä-strich How to pronounce ostrich (audio) \

Kids Definition of ostrich

: a very large bird of Africa that often weighs as much as 300 pounds (140 kilograms) and runs very fast but cannot fly

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