albatross

Definitions

  • Wandering Albatross
    Wandering Albatross
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n albatross large web-footed birds of the southern hemisphere having long narrow wings; noted for powerful gliding flight
    • n albatross (figurative) something that hinders or handicaps "she was an albatross around his neck"
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Additional illustrations & photos:

ALBATROSS ALBATROSS

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: An albatross can sleep while it flies. It apparently dozes while cruising at 25 mph.
    • n Albatross (Zoöl) A web-footed bird, of the genus Diomedea, of which there are several species. They are the largest of sea birds, capable of long-continued flight, and are often seen at great distances from the land. They are found chiefly in the southern hemisphere.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The largest web-footed bird is the albatross.
    • n albatross A web-footed sea-bird of the petrel family, Procellariidæ, and subfamily Diomedeinæ. About 12 species of albatross are known, all except the sooty albatross, Phæbetria juliginosa, belonging to the genus Diomedea. They are distinguished as a group from other birds of the petrel family by having the hind toe rudimentary, and the tubular nostrils separated, one on each side of the base of the upper mandible. The bill is stout and hooked at the end, the wings are very long, the tail and feet short, and the stature is very great. Albatrosses inhabit the southern seas at large, and the whole Pacific ocean, but not the northern Atlantic. Some of them are the largest known sea-birds, and all are noted for their powers of flight, sailing for hours, and in any direction with reference to the wind, without visible movement of the wings. They nest on the ground, and lay a single white egg. They are very voracious, may be caught with a hook and line baited with pork, and when taken on board a vessel are observed to walk with difficulty. One of the commonest and best-known species is the wandering albatross, D. exulans; it is also the largest species, having a stretch of wings of about 12 feet—an assigned dimension of 17½ feet being either a great exaggeration or highly exceptional. This bird is mostly white, with dark markings on the upper parts, flesh-colored feet, and a yellow bill. The short-tailed albatross, D. brachyura, is a related but smaller species. It goes far north in the Pacific ocean, where is also found the black-footed albatross, D. nigripes of Audubon. The yellow-nosed albatross is D. chlororhynchus, to which another species, D. culminata, is closely related; these, and D. melanophrys, are among the smaller species, and of about the size of the sooty albatross. The latter is wholly dark-colored. From their habit of following ships for days together without resting, albatrosses are regarded with feelings of attachment and superstitious awe by sailors, it being considered unlucky to kill one. Coleridge has availed himself of this feeling in his “Ancient Mariner.” Also spelled albatros, and in New Latin form albatrus, as either a generic or a specific designation.
    • n albatross A thin untwilled woolen material used for women's dresses.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: An albatross can sleep while it flies
    • n Albatross al′ba-tros a large, long-winged, web-footed sea-bird of remarkable powers of flight, found abundantly in the Southern Ocean, particularly near the Cape of Good Hope.
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Idioms

Albatross around your neck - An albatross around, or round, your neck is a problem resulting from something you did that stops you from being successful.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Corrupt. fr. Pg. alcatraz, cormorant, albatross, or Sp. alcatraz, a pelican: cf. Pg. alcatruz, Sp. arcaduz, a bucket, fr. Ar. al-qādus, the bucket, fr. Gr. ka`dos, a water vessel. So an Arabic term for pelican, is water-carrier, as a bird carrying water in its pouch
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Corr. from Alcatras (q.v.), perh. with reference to albus, white, from its colour.

Usage

In literature:

Ancient mariners and albatrosses are naturally mutually suggestive.
"From Sail to Steam, Recollections of Naval Life" by Captain A. T. Mahan
Next he begged that Mrs. Rear-Admiral Albatross would excuse him from her Christmas dinner.
"Duffels" by Edward Eggleston
It is a small kind of albatross.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
When we were returning to the ship on the following morning, a large albatross alighted on the water close to the boat.
"Borneo and the Indian Archipelago" by Frank S. Marryat
Albatross had been heavily backed to win the double, the Drag and Hunt Club Cups.
"The Chronicles of a Gay Gordon" by José Maria Gordon
Instead of the cross, the Albatross About my neck was hung.
"The Children's Garland from the Best Poets" by Various
Why didn't the Ancient Mariner sell his albatross and take a nice little trip around the world on the proceeds?
"Master of the Vineyard" by Myrtle Reed
And now for the connection of the albatross with this accident.
"Kathay: A Cruise in the China Seas" by W. Hastings Macaulay
He knew the more common large birds of the world: the ostrich, the condor, the albatross, eagles, cranes, storks.
"David and the Phoenix" by Edward Ormondroyd
It was not the black albatross, the frigate-bird, nor the booby.
"The Ocean Waifs" by Mayne Reid
Anything is welcome which may break that long monotony, a sail, a shark, an albatross, a man overboard.
"Critical and Historical Essays, Volume III (of 3)" by Thomas Babington Macaulay
Then little Sol asked him if they couldn't catch the albatross with a hook and a piece of pork, as they had caught the shark.
"The Sandman: His Sea Stories" by William J. Hopkins
In storm or calm the albatross is master of the wind and waves.
"Harper's Young People, April 20, 1880" by Various
The double-shotted broadside of the Albatross was followed by three thundering cheers.
"An Old Sailor's Yarns" by Nathaniel Ames
The second, an Albatross model, was discovered prowling above Rheims.
"The Story of the Great War, Volume IV (of 8)"
In March, 1810, Kaumualii, the last King of Kauai, visited Honolulu in the ship Albatross, Capt.
"The Hawaiian Islands" by The Department of Foreign Affairs
Then the Sea-gulls determined to consult the Great Albatross of the Southern Seas, the King among all sea-fowl.
"Boys and Girls Bookshelf (Vol 2 of 17)" by Various
Through all these wonders the launch pushed on before a moderate breeze, occasionally feeling the air moved by the albatrosses' wings.
"The Voyages and Adventures of Captain Hatteras" by Jules Verne
We had evening service at 4.30 P.M. During the afternoon we saw many more sea-birds, and several albatrosses.
"The Last Voyage" by Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey
Their powers of flight combine the strength of the Albatrosses and the grace of the Terns.
"The Bird Book" by Chester A. Reed
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In poetry:

Albatrosses, so say some,
Find great benefit in rum,
And, in gratitude for nips,
Bring fair winds to troubled ships.
"The Alcoholic Albatross" by C J Dennis
On high ways of the albatross
I scale the purple air
For sapphires of the Southern Cross
And wreath them in her hair
"Jewels: A Young Man to a Merchant" by Herbert Ashley Asquith
From where the wide-winged albatross
Floats white 'neath the Southern Cross,
There came the swift cruisers,
And Germans are losers;
Australians want no Kaiser boss.
"The Allied Forces" by Abner Cosens
Bearded and blown, an albatross of frost,
Relic of tough weather, every winch and stay
Encased in a glassy pellicle.
The sun will diminish it soon enough:
Each wave-tip glitters like a knife.
"A Winter Ship" by Sylvia Plath

In news:

Israel's Albatross : US Neocons The Nation.
Quipped David Anderson, the biologist who has been tracking the flights of the Laysan and black-footed albatrosses by satellite since January.
A leader in developing frames and lenses for the aviation industry, Scheyden Precision Eyewear introduces Albatross and Mustang.
Emily and Navin fly the Albatross through the caverns of Alledia, avoiding the tentacles of the dangerous Rakers.
The poisoning of thousands of Laysan Albatrosses at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, in the Pacific, has provoked a major cleanup of lead-based paint on the atoll .
A Black-browed Albatross soars above West Point Island in the Falkland Islands, site of a large rookery.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa lost to Bubba Watson in the Masters 2012 final round at Augusta, Georgia, despite Oosthuizen's rare albatross on the second hole.
Yes, just like sailors spotting an albatross, this, the 11th annual Coldest Beer issue is your signal that happier shores lie ahead—shores where they serve really cold beer in frosty mugs.
These graceful giants are Black- footed Albatrosses, flying by the thousands near the edge of the continental shelf.
If you prefer intellectual exercises, and you're looking for a genuine pub quiz look no further than Berkeley's oldest pub, the Albatross.
30 years ago Brian Allen soared into the history books, flying his " Gossamer Albatross" across the English Channel in two hours, fifty minutes.
Anna's Hummingbirds, young naturalists, oil sands, nearshore albatross, photo gallery of rare-bird sightings, and saving the House Sparrow .
Nars Lip Gloss in Albatross.
A day in the life of the Cannery Row aquarium involves enthralled visitors, one dancing albatross and a voracious shark.
While most nuclear-power plants in America may be economic albatrosses, the little-known Government-owned enterprise that supplies the bulk of their uranium fuel is highly profitable.
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In science:

With global topology, discussed sampling techniques like random node, random edge, random subgraph in large graphs. introduced Albatross sampling which combines random jump and MHRW. also demonstrated true uniform sampling method among the users’ id as “ground-truth”.
Faster Random Walks By Rewiring Online Social Networks On-The-Fly
Albatross sampling: robust and effective hybrid vertex sampling for social graphs.
Faster Random Walks By Rewiring Online Social Networks On-The-Fly
The role of prolactin during incubation: comparative studies of three Diomedea albatrosses.
Post-hatching parental care behaviour and hormonal status in a precocial bird
The patterns of motion of mobile agents has received recently wide attention in the literature. There is a number of recent studies centered around the motion behavior of many agents ranging from albatrosses to human beings.
Stroboscopic observation of a random walker
Levy flight search patterns of wandering albatrosses.
Stroboscopic observation of a random walker
Revisiting Levy type search patterns of wandering albatrosses, bumblebees and deer.
Stroboscopic observation of a random walker
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