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

Examples of ostrich in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pair with relatively delicate fare—consider ostrich steaks or a butterscotch dessert. Tom Mullen, Forbes, "Bordeaux Wine Vintage 2020 Is A Silky Delight," 10 May 2021 Researchers discovered 22 calcite crystals and fragments of ostrich shell in the Ga-Mohana Hill North Rockshelter in South Africa and dated them to approximately 105,000 years ago. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "A rare interstellar comet reveals its secrets and 5 other top space and science stories this week," 3 Apr. 2021 Like many CEOs on the West Coast, Dan Schulman has a sort of a uniform: blue jeans, black sweater and ostrich-skin cowboy boots. Eben Shapiro, Time, "PayPal CEO Dan Schulman: Cryptocurrency Is the Real Deal. And the Superapps Are Coming.," 25 Apr. 2021 But the stars of the garment are the ostrich feathers around the neckline and waist. Shannon Carlin, Vulture, "How Genius: Aretha Re-created Aretha Franklin’s Iconic Style," 30 Mar. 2021 Pizza Club just had its official opening party in the Himmarshee District on Thursday and is a must stop for the adventurous pizza lover (toppings include ostrich, alligator and Reese’s Pieces, and the simple vegan pie is a standout). Ben Crandell, sun-sentinel.com, "10 things to do in Fort Lauderdale this weekend: Red noses, high heels and a circus downtown | Photos," 16 Apr. 2021 There was that one time when the keepers placed an ostrich egg in the habitat to see what the laughingthrush brothers would do. Terry Demio, The Enquirer, "Han Solo, Vader and Luke are rare brothers who live their best lives at the Cincinnati Zoo," 10 Apr. 2021 The bands for a Cartier watch are typically made from matching metal links or fine leather, including exotic options such as alligator or ostrich. Michael Pollick, chicagotribune.com, "The best Cartier watch," 9 Apr. 2021 The ostrich shells may have even been used as early water bottles. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "A rare interstellar comet reveals its secrets and 5 other top space and science stories this week," 3 Apr. 2021

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

Time Traveler for ostrich

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for ostrich

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ostrich.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ostrich. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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