os·​trich ˈä-strich How to pronounce ostrich (audio)
 also  -strij
: 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)
: rhea
: 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
ˈä-strich-ˌlīk How to pronounce ostrich (audio)
 also  -strij-

Examples of ostrich in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The game is all about strategy, as the height of your character relative to the others determines who survives a collision, leading to much frantic button-mashing to flap your ostrich's magnificent wings. Aaron Morales, EW.com, 23 Feb. 2024 Organized by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and Steve LeVine Entertainment & Public Relations, the Ostrich Festival is a longstanding community tradition that honors the region's history of ostrich ranching. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 11 Jan. 2024 Prehistoric ostrich eggs with simple carvings have been found in Africa. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 5 Feb. 2024 The collection includes an 8-foot ostrich, African lions, a zebra and the head and neck of a giraffe. Sarah Gish, Kansas City Star, 31 Jan. 2024 While cassowaries are one of the only birds (among ostriches and chickens) known to have killed humans before, attacks resulting in human fatalities are rare. Katie Liu, Discover Magazine, 9 Jan. 2024 Walk around Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge to see zebras, giraffes, and ostriches for free. Carlye Wisel, Travel + Leisure, 2 Dec. 2023 Photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, October 1975 Rosie Vela in a one-shoulder satin dress and bias coat with ostrich feathers by Marc Bohan for Dior. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 6 Dec. 2023 Egyptian vultures, for example, have been shown to throw stones at ostrich eggs to crack through the shell, but only after an experimenter revealed to the birds that the giant eggs contained food. Natalie Angier, New York Times, 12 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ostrich.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near ostrich

Cite this Entry

“Ostrich.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ostrich. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


os·​trich ˈäs-trich How to pronounce ostrich (audio)
: a very large bird of Africa that often weighs as much as 300 pounds (140 kilograms) runs very quickly but cannot fly, and has large wing and tail feathers used especially formerly in dusters and fans and to adorn hats and clothing
: one who tries to avoid danger by refusing to face it
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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