rat·​ite | \ ˈra-ˌtīt How to pronounce ratite (audio) \

Definition of ratite

: a bird with a flat breastbone especially : any of various mostly flightless birds (such as an ostrich, rhea, emu, moa, or kiwi) with small or rudimentary wings and no keel on the sternum that are probably of polyphyletic origin and are assigned to a number of different orders

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Other Words from ratite

ratite adjective

Examples of ratite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At one point, researchers believed that D. stirtoni was related to other flightless ratites, like emus and ostriches. National Geographic, "The Biggest Bird That Ever Lived and 5 More Bird Superstars," 15 May 2018 Ratites and tinamous are among the scant 3 percent of birds in which males have penises. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "World’s Biggest Birds Are Stellar Dads and Unusual Lovers," 3 Sep. 2016 But in all ratites aside from ostriches, only the male cares for the offspring. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "World’s Biggest Birds Are Stellar Dads and Unusual Lovers," 3 Sep. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ratite.' 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 ratite

1874, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ratite

ultimately from Latin ratitus marked with the figure of a raft, from ratis raft

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Cite this Entry

“Ratite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ratite. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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