ostrich

[aw-strich, os-trich]
noun
  1. a large, two-toed, swift-footed flightless bird, Struthio camelus, indigenous to Africa and Arabia, domesticated for its plumage: the largest of living birds.
  2. (not used scientifically) a rhea.
  3. a person who attempts to ignore unpleasant facts or situations.

Origin of ostrich

1175–1225; Middle English ostrice, ostriche < Old French ostrusce (compare French autruche) < Vulgar Latin *avistrūthius, for Latin avis bird + Late Latin strūthiō < Late Greek strouthíōn; see struthious
Related formsos·trich·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ostrich

ostrich

noun plural -triches or -trich
  1. a fast-running flightless African bird, Struthio camelus, that is the largest living bird, with stout two-toed feet and dark feathers, except on the naked head, neck, and legs: order StruthioniformesSee ratite Related adjective: struthious
  2. American ostrich another name for rhea
  3. a person who refuses to recognize the truth, reality, etc: a reference to the ostrich's supposed habit of burying its head in the sand

Word Origin for ostrich

C13: from Old French ostrice, from Latin avis bird + Late Latin struthio ostrich, from Greek strouthion
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

Word Origin and History for ostrich
n.

early 13c., from Old French ostruce "ostrich" (Modern French autruche) and Medieval Latin ostrica, ostrigius, all from Vulgar Latin avis struthio, from Latin avis "bird" (see aviary) + Late Latin struthio "ostrich," from Greek strouthion "ostrich," from strouthos megale "big sparrow," perhaps from PIE *trozdo- "thrush" (see thrush (n.1)). The Greeks also knew the bird as strouthokamelos "camel-sparrow," for its long neck. Among its proverbial peculiarities are indiscriminate voracity (especially a habit of swallowing iron and stone to aid digestion), want of regard for its eggs, and a tendency to hide its head in the sand when pursued.

Like the Austridge, who hiding her little head, supposeth her great body obscured. [1623, recorded in OED]

Ostriches do put their heads in the sand, but ostrich farmers say they do this in search of something to eat.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper