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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
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
Thigh-high leather boots… Gucci ostrich skin leather jackets… Horizontally striped posing briefs… More leather jackets...
Dropping my head low, ostrich style, was more likely to lead to a closer sniff of an armpit than to a clearer view of a work.
Ostrich farming is not only an interesting industry for the Boers, but it is a most lucrative business.The World and Its People: Book VII|Anna B. Badlam
He has the constitution of a rhinoceros, the digestion of an ostrich, and the concentration of an oyster.Little Dorrit|Charles Dickens
The military policy of Kerensky was the policy of an ostrich.Dictatorship vs. Democracy|Leon Trotsky
Here we find the Ostrich, the plantain eaters, the colies and several, other families—nine in all.
She—she who was accustomed to flaunt in a "changeable" silk, and her bonnet had an ostrich plume!The Storm Centre|Charles Egbert Craddock