Try Our Apps


Blech. These are the grossest words.


[os-uh-frij] /ˈɒs ə frɪdʒ/
the lammergeier.
Archaic. the osprey.
Origin of ossifrage
1595-1605; < Latin ossifraga sea eagle, literally, bone-breaker (noun use of feminine of ossifragus bone-breaking), equivalent to ossi- (combining form of os) bone + frag-, variant stem of frangere to break + -a nominative singular feminine noun and adj. ending Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for ossifrage
Historical Examples
  • These are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • These are they of which ye shall not eat; the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • The word is said to be a corruption of ossifrage, the "bone-breaker."

    An Australian Bird Book John Albert Leach
British Dictionary definitions for ossifrage


/ˈɒsɪfrɪdʒ; -ˌfreɪdʒ/
an archaic name for lammergeier, osprey (sense 1)
Word Origin
C17: from Latin ossifraga sea eagle; see osprey
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for ossifrage

"sea-eagle, osprey," c.1600, from Latin ossifraga "vulture," fem. of ossifragus, literally "bone-breaker," from ossifragus (adj.) "bone-breaking," from os (genitive ossis) "bone" (see osseous) + stem of frangere "to break" (see fraction). By this name Pliny meant the lammergeier (from German, literally "lamb-vulture"), a very large Old World vulture that swallows and digests bones and was believed also to drop them from aloft to break them and get at the marrow. But in England and France, the word was transferred to the osprey, perhaps on similarity of sound between the two words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
ossifrage in the Bible

Heb. peres = to "break" or "crush", the lammer-geier, or bearded vulture, the largest of the whole vulture tribe. It was an unclean bird (Lev. 11:13; Deut. 14:12). It is not a gregarious bird, and is found but rarely in Palestine. "When the other vultures have picked the flesh off any animal, he comes in at the end of the feast, and swallows the bones, or breaks them, and swallows the pieces if he cannot otherwise extract the marrow. The bones he cracks [hence the appropriateness of the name ossifrage, i.e., "bone-breaker"] by letting them fall on a rock from a great height. He does not, however, confine himself to these delicacies, but whenever he has an opportunity will devour lambs, kids, or hares. These he generally obtains by pushing them over cliffs, when he has watched his opportunity; and he has been known to attack men while climbing rocks, and dash them against the bottom. But tortoises and serpents are his ordinary food...No doubt it was a lammer-geier that mistook the bald head of the poet AEschylus for a stone, and dropped on it the tortoise which killed him" (Tristram's Nat. Hist.).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ossifrage

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ossifrage

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for ossifrage