QUIZ YOURSELF ON “ITS” VS. “IT’S”!
Origin of ostrich
OTHER WORDS FROM ostrichos·trich·like, adjective
Words nearby ostrich
BEHIND THE WORD
Where does ostrich come from?
A funny-looking animal with a funny origin story is the ostrich. When you look at an ostrich, with its small head, big, long legs, and large, fluffy body, the first thing you think of is a tiny, adorable sparrow, right? Wait, what?
As it happens, that’s what the ancient Greeks thought, apparently. The word ostrich ultimately comes from the Greek word strouthion, which comes from the Greek expression for “big sparrow.” That’s right, it seems the Greeks thought the ostrich was just a really big, weird sparrow.
Funnily enough, the ancient Greeks also called the ostrich strouthokamelos, which means “camel-sparrow,” because the bird has a long neck like a camel.
The roots of these other words may get a rise—of laughter or surprise—out of you. Run on over to our roundup of them at “Weird Word Origins That Will Make Your Family Laugh.”
Did you know … ?
- The ostrich may look silly but you don’t want to make this huge bird mad. It is the world’s largest bird. It can run up to 43 mph/hr (70 km/hr), and its legs can be used to deliver devastating kicks.
- A common myth surrounding the ostrich is that it buries its head in the sand when it is scared, a behavior that is the source of the idiom to hide/bury one’s head in the sand. In reality, ostriches can’t fly, so they lay their eggs in a hole in the ground, and occasionally they peek their head in to rotate them to ensure they are properly heated.
- While the adjective ostrichlike describes something that resembles an ostrich, you can also use the word struthious, which comes from the ostrich’s original Greek name.
Example sentences from the Web for ostrich
For some, the positive talk is surely helpful, but after relentless bad news and a future dense with fog, it could seem like these people were ostriches, plunging their heads into sinking sand, not paying attention to what was going on.One Good Thing: The future is uncertain. This graphic novel gave me hope anyway.|Alissa Wilkinson|January 1, 2021|Vox
I never looked back after I was running, but I threw a rock and think I might have killed an ostrich.
The craziest thing I did was that I had to steal an ostrich egg from an ostrich farm that was close to Mexico.
The bags themselves were covetable items as ever, relying on highest-quality material: ostrich and crocodile.Anya Hindmarch and Stella McCartney Close London Fashion Week|Tom Sykes|September 17, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Long mermaid gowns, dresses with full tulle skirts, and a fluffy ostrich feature coat all drew applause from the crowd.Giorgio Armani Fall Winter 2013/2014 Armani Prive Couture Collection|Alice Cavanagh|July 2, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Thigh-high leather boots… Gucci ostrich skin leather jackets… Horizontally striped posing briefs… More leather jackets...
In the course of your remarks to-night you have happened to mention that peculiar bird the ostrich.Hunting the Lions|R.M. Ballantyne
But the Oriental we can't assimilate, for all our ostrich-like digestion, and what we can't assimilate we won't have.Ancestors|Gertrude Atherton
A quart of rings and bracelets on each hand and arm, horseshoe earrings, and a big ostrich fan.David Lannarck, Midget|George S. Harney
White Moth—strands from an Ostrich, wings from a white Pigeon, a white hackle for legs, and a black head.
Little Black Gnat—dubbed with black strands from an ostrich, wings, light feather from underneath starling's wing.