albatross

[ al-buh-traws, -tros ]
/ ˈæl bəˌtrɔs, -ˌtrɒs /

noun

any of several large, web-footed sea birds of the family Diomedeidae that have the ability to remain aloft for long periods.Compare wandering albatross.
a seemingly inescapable moral or emotional burden, as of guilt or responsibility.
something burdensome that impedes action or progress.
Textiles.
  1. a lightweight worsted fabric with a crepe or pebble finish.
  2. a plain-weave cotton fabric with a soft nap surface.

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Origin of albatross

1675–85; variant of algatross frigate bird <Portuguese alcatraz pelican, probably <Arabic al-ghaṭṭāṣ a kind of sea eagle, literally, the diver; -b- for -g- perhaps by association with Latin albus white (the bird's color)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for albatross

British Dictionary definitions for albatross

albatross
/ (ˈælbəˌtrɒs) /

noun

any large oceanic bird of the genera Diomedea and Phoebetria, family Diomedeidae, of cool southern oceans: order Procellariiformes (petrels). They have long narrow wings and are noted for a powerful gliding flightSee also wandering albatross
a constant and inescapable burden or handicapan albatross of debt
golf a score of three strokes under par for a hole

Word Origin for albatross

C17: from Portuguese alcatraz pelican, from Arabic al-ghattās, from al the + ghattās white-tailed sea eagle; influenced by Latin albus white: C20 in sense 2, from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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