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 ostrichlike (audio) , ˈȯ-​ also  -​strij-​ \ adjective

Examples of ostrich in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The government allows 54 wild species to be bred on farms and sold for consumption, including minks, ostriches, hamsters, snapping turtles, and Siamese crocodiles. National Geographic, "More Chinese push to end wildlife markets as WHO declares coronavirus emergency," 30 Jan. 2020 Outside, beyond the skate rental tent, 15 kilometers — more than nine miles — of iceways wove through pine and hardwood forests dotted with farm pens occupied by goats, sheep, ducks, deer and more exotic animals, including an ostrich. Elaine Glusac, New York Times, "Where Trails Are for Skating, Not Hiking," 13 Jan. 2020 Draped in gorgeous gowns and other designer attire, Michuki danced among giraffes, made friends with ostriches and played with zebras. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "Miss Universe Kenya Stacy Michuki's Stunning Safari Photoshoot Will Leave You Speechless," 22 Jan. 2020 Scot gave me a range for another ostrich, and that bird dropped as well. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "Why Hunting Africa Has Nothing To Do With Trophy Hunting," 17 Dec. 2019 The pathogen also infects sheep, ostriches, and other animals. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "Cases of mysterious shrew-transmitted disease double," 7 Jan. 2020 At one point, the cube projected texts from DeadMau5 in a cheesy Comic Sans font, and the videos including the famous and funny calculating GIF, and animations of a dancing cow and ostrich with DeadMau5 heads and floppy tongues. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Despite being sick, DeadMau5 masters his craft at Wisconsin Center spectacle in Milwaukee," 15 Dec. 2019 Herds of angry ostriches and mandrills are added for danger, even though the special effects are hardly seamless, often looking jerky and manipulated at key moments. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, "‘Jumanji’ franchise sticks with winning formula in ‘Next Level’," 12 Dec. 2019 Emus are the second-largest birds in the world by height behind the ostrich. USA TODAY, "Massive pumpkin, runaway emu, 38-year-old penguin dies: News from around our 50 states," 21 Oct. 2019

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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Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ostrich.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ostrich. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for ostrich


How to pronounce ostrich (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on ostrich

Spanish Central: Translation of ostrich

Nglish: Translation of ostrich for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ostrich for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ostrich

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