- having a flat, unkeeled sternum, as an ostrich, cassowary, emu, or moa.
- a bird having a ratite breastbone.
Origin of ratite
1875–80; < Latin rat(is) raft + -ite2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for ratite
The arrangement bears a great resemblance to that of Ratite birds.The Vertebrate Skeleton
Sidney H. Reynolds
Like other Ratite birds it will take to the water, and examples have been seen voluntarily swimming a wide river.
Lastly must be noted the extinct tall Ratite species of Aepyornis with its several fancy genera.
- (of flightless birds) having a breastbone that lacks a keel for the attachment of flight muscles
- of or denoting the flightless birds, formerly classified as a group (the Ratitae), that have a flat breastbone, feathers lacking vanes, and reduced wings
- a bird, such as an ostrich, kiwi, or rhea, that belongs to this group; a flightless bird
C19: from Latin ratis raft
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