ostrich

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Among the pieces: the Banjooli table, with bright yellow polyethylene cords woven to evoke overlapping feathers and inspired by the courtship dance of the ostrich. Washington Post, "RIGHT AT HOME: Outdoor decor that’s ‘out there’ and edgy," 18 June 2019 There were bubble dresses and bows galore, sweeping trains and gleaming ostrich-feathered embroideries. Sarah Mower, Vogue, "The Top 10 Shows of London Fashion Week Fall 2019," 20 Feb. 2019 Activists who for years have thrown paint on celebrities’ fur coats and protested next to the catwalks are setting their sights on skins made from crocodile, alligator, snake and ostrich. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "Fashion Labels Scramble to Shed Their Skins," 19 July 2018 Residents have raised cattle, horses, ostriches and other animals, and Indians gathered acorns and traded seashells with tribes to the east. Roger Showley, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Jamul-Rancho San Diego: Historic rancho served as seashell trading post, hosts new casino," 22 June 2018 Past the odd acacia tree and lone ostrich and pair of giraffes in the distance, rising from the ground like elegant, blinking sculptures. Rachel Levin, WSJ, "The Toughest Half-Marathon You’ll Want to Plan a Trip Around," 3 July 2018 Turkeys, ostriches, and eagles are not really that different in their looks or behaviors than extinct dinosaurs such as Velociraptor. National Geographic, "Could Humans and Dinosaurs Coexist? Here's the Science.," 22 June 2018 The cape includes white ribbons on both shoulders, a large gold tasseled rope connecting both sides, and—the best part—a black velvet hat with an oversized ostrich feather, according to People. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William's Super Ornate Outfit in Scotland Is Full of Royal Symbolism," 6 July 2018 The most high profile is Etosha National Park, home to around 500 lions, or half the country’s population, as well as birds like ostriches and vultures, elephants, and, of course, cheetahs. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Visit in August," 27 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ostrich

Statistics for ostrich

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ostrich

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ostrich

ostrich

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ostrich

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

ostrich

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on ostrich

What made you want to look up ostrich? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!