os·​trich ˈä-strich How to pronounce ostrich (audio)
 also  -strij
: 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)
: rhea
: leather made from ostrich skin
[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
ˈä-strich-ˌlīk How to pronounce ostrich (audio)
 also  -strij-

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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web This season, the label partnered with artisans from Botswana to develop custom sequins made from ostrich shells to spice up their spring offering. José Criales-unzueta, Vogue, 11 Sep. 2022 And finally, Thailand's Chiang Mai Zoo has an unusual drill to prepare for animal escapes: A staff member capers around in a giant ostrich costume. CNN, 3 Sep. 2022 Their approach, the equivalent of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand, doesn’t make sense to Zhou Hang. New York Times, 10 June 2022 The international organization determined that 75 percent of activities involving wild animals — such as tiger selfies, ostrich rides, dolphin swims and crocodile farms — are harmful to the four-legged, finned or feathered participants. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2022 Garter Day at Windsor, which sees knights wear long velvet robes and a hat decorated with white ostrich and black heron feathers, is the first day of a festive week for the Queen. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, 10 June 2022 Raziel shifts between multiple animal shapes, including a goat, an ostrich, and a tiger. K. Thor Jensen, PCMAG, 27 July 2022 These stilettos are luxurious, with Swarovski Crystals lining the straps and ostrich feathers covering the toes. Venesa Coger, refinery29.com, 14 July 2022 And, for extra peace of mind, our renowned ostrich handler, Frank, will be standing by. Jason Siegel, The New Yorker, 23 July 2022 See More

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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Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French ostriz, ostrige, from Vulgar Latin *avis struthio, from Latin avis bird + Late Latin struthio ostrich — more at struthious

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near ostrich

Cite this Entry

“Ostrich.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ostrich. Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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Kids Definition



os·​trich ˈä-strich How to pronounce ostrich (audio)
: a very large bird of Africa that often weighs as much as 300 pounds (140 kilograms) and runs very fast but cannot fly

Last Updated: 23 Sep 2022

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