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

According to the San Diego Zoo, emus typically weigh less than 120 pounds and stand between 5 and 6 feet tall, far smaller than their more menacing relatives, the ostrich and cassowary. Scottie Andrew And Katherine Dillinger, CNN, "There's an emu on the loose in North Carolina, and nobody's been quick enough to catch it," 1 Aug. 2019 El Sayed also has a penchant for the exotic and will on occasion procure camel meat, crocodile, and ostrich. David Kortava, The New Yorker, "Kabab Café’s “Snout to Tail” Delicacies," 23 Aug. 2019 But in the dry seasons, when food resources are scarcer, ostriches and buffalos tend to strike out alone, and Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles prefer the company of their own species. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Animal friendships change with the weather in African savanna," 6 Aug. 2019 The solution: Set a good example, and don’t be an ostrich by hiding your head in the sand and ignoring preventive health. Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News, "Dr. Fernstrom: Is your partner sabotaging your health?," 30 July 2019 Gentry Estes, Louisville Courier Journal HENDERSON, Ky. – Aryn Hedrick is here for the ostriches. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "This one's for the birds: Ostrich races steal the show at Ellis Park," 6 July 2019 Inside was a miniature zoo that included an ostrich, peacocks, gazelles, and a few ducks whose presence in the Sahara remains a mystery. Robert Draper, National Geographic, "How a trip through the Sahara reflects Niger’s fragile state," 13 June 2019 Turkeys and peacocks roam the grounds, and exotic animals like ostriches, camels, alpacas and llamas are in fenced pastures and corrals. Dina Mishev, Dallas News, "In Cheyenne, the Wild West hasn't been totally tamed," 16 July 2019 Simba and Nala perched atop an ostrich that crowned a tower composed partly of zebras, giraffes, and hippos as the prince belted his anthem. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Uncanny Fun of the Live-Action Lion King," 11 July 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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Statistics for ostrich

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ostrich

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

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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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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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