• WordNet 3.6
    • n ostrich fast-running African flightless bird with two-toed feet; largest living bird
    • n ostrich a person who refuses to face reality or recognize the truth (a reference to the popular notion that the ostrich hides from danger by burying its head in the sand)
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Additional illustrations & photos:

The Ostrich The Ostrich
Ostriches Ostriches
Young ostriches Young ostriches

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: An ostrich's eye is bigger that it's brain.
    • n ostrich ŏs"trich (Zoöl) A large bird of the genus Struthio, of which Struthio camelus of Africa is the best known species. It has long and very strong legs, adapted for rapid running; only two toes; a long neck, nearly bare of feathers; and short wings incapable of flight. The adult male is about eight feet high.☞ The South African ostrich (Struthio australis) and the Asiatic ostrich are considered distinct species by some authors. Ostriches are now domesticated in South Africa in large numbers for the sake of their plumes. The body of the male is covered with elegant black plumose feathers, while the wings and tail furnish the most valuable white plumes.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The ostrich has two toes on each feet which gives it greater speed
    • n ostrich A very large ratite bird of the genus Struthio. The true or African ostrich (S. camelus) inhabits the sandy plains of Africa and Arabia, and is the largest of all existing birds, attaining a height of from 6 to 8 feet. The head and neck are nearly naked, and the quill-feathers of the wings and tail have their barbs wholly disconnected. It is chiefly for these plumes, which are highly esteemed as articles of dress and decoration, that the bird is hunted and also reared in domestication. The legs are extremely strong, the thighs are naked, and the tarsi are covered with scales. There are only two toes, the first and second being wanting. The pubic bones are united — a conformation occurring in no other bird. The wings are of small size and incapable of being used as organs of flight; the birds can run with extraordinary speed, distancing the fleetest horse. The food consists of grass, grain, and other substances of a vegetable nature. Ostriches are polygamous, every male consorting with several females, and they generally keep together in larger or smaller flocks. The eggs are of great size, averaging three pounds each in weight, and several hens often lay in the same nest, which is merely a hole scraped in the sand. The eggs appear to be hatched mainly by incubation, both parents relieving each other in the task, but also partly by the heat of the sun. The South African ostrich is often considered as a distinct species under the name of S. australis. Three South American birds of the genus Rhea are popularly known as the American ostrich, though they are not very closely allied to the true ostrich, differing in having three-toed feet and in many other respects. The best-known of the three is R. americana, the nandu or nanduguaçu of the Brazilians, in habiting the great American pampas south of the equator. It is considerably smaller than the true ostrich, and its plumage is much inferior. R. darwini, a native of Patagonia, is still smaller, and belongs to a different subgenus (Ptilocnemis). The third species is the R. macrorhyncha, so called from its long bill; it is perhaps only a variety of the first.
    • n ostrich Four species of ostriches are now recognized, the name Struthis camelus being restricted to the northern species that ranges into Arabia. S. molybdophanes is from Somaliland, and S. meridionalis or masaicus from Central Africa. The southern species, S. australis, is the one that has been partially domesticated and is kept in ostrich-farms for the sake of its feathers. The eggs of these species differ quite as much as do the birds themselves, that of S. camelus being quite smooth while the others are more or less deeply pitted.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: An adult male ostrich, the world's largest bird, can weigh up to 345 pounds.
    • n Ostrich os′trich the largest of birds, found in Africa, remarkable for its speed in running, and prized for its feathers
    • ***


  • Akhenaton
    “As the ostrich when pursued hideth his head, but forgetteth his body; so the fears of a coward expose him to danger.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. ostriche, ostrice, OF. ostruche, ostruce, F. autruche, L. avis struthio,; avis, bird + struthio, ostrich, fr. Gr. , fr. bird, sparrow. Cf. Aviary Struthious
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. ostruche (Fr. autruche)—L. avis-, struthio, ostrich—Gr. strouthiōn, an ostrich, strouthos, a bird.


In literature:

Instead of wishing to take its nest about with it, wherever it goes, the ostrich does not care for a great deal of nest-work.
"Round-about Rambles in Lands of Fact and Fancy" by Frank Richard Stockton
An early notice of the ostrich feather as a royal badge occurs in a note in one of the Harleian MSS.
"English Embroidered Bookbindings" by Cyril James Humphries Davenport
Ostriches are not unfrequently seen hereabouts.
"A Narrative of the Expedition to Dongola and Sennaar" by George Bethune English
It was Richard who first found the wit to realize the ostrich-play.
"The Master of Appleby" by Francis Lynde
A small tuft of ostrich plumes nodded from her bonnet.
"The Portion of Labor" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Within this lived a flock of ostriches, belonging to the Crown.
"Spanish Life in Town and Country" by L. Higgin and Eugène E. Street
The ostrich hain't to blame, he's only actin' out Nater.
"Samantha at the World's Fair" by Marietta Holley
Silly, ostrich-brained Yarmouth men!
"The Social History of Smoking" by G. L. Apperson
Two great black ostrich plumes and one red one curled down toward the soft spikes of the fur.
"The Butterfly House" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Amongst the things brought for sale are young ostriches and the eggs of ostriches.
"Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 2" by James Richardson

In poetry:

And drooping ostrich plumes
Waver in my brain,
And fathomless blue eyes
Bloom on the distant shore.
"Unknown Woman" by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blok
He showed him ostrich and unicorn,
Ape, lion, and tiger keen;
And elephants wise roared 'Hail Kaiser!'
As though they had Christians been.
"The Song of The Little Baltung: A.D. 395" by Charles Kingsley
But now yon boat on fading waters fades;
The ostrich-feathered clouds have lost their light,
And from the West, like somber sachem shades,
Gallop the shades of night.
"Along The Ohio" by Madison Julius Cawein
But when she had passed into the heath,
And gained the wood beyond the flat,
She raised her skirts, and from beneath
Unpinned and drew as from a sheath
An ostrich-feathered hat.
"In The Days Of Crinoline" by Thomas Hardy
Arms, treasures, captives, kings in clanking chains
Urged on by trampling cohorts bronzed and scarred,
And wild-eyed wonders snared on Lybian plains,
Lion and ostrich and camelopard.
"For The Commemoration Services" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
When I struck out from the bunkhouse, for my first day on the range,
I thought the tracks we follered was peculiar like and strange,
And when I asked about it, the roundup foreman sez:
"You ain't a-punchin' cattle, but are herdin' ostriches."
"The Ostrich-Punching of Arroyo Al" by Arthur Chapman

In news:

Key the ostrich has head firmly buried in sand.
Orange ostrich key chain color John Hardy .
Cameron Crowe wrangles emotions and ostriches.
Though they cannot fly, ostriches are fleet, strong runners.
Ostriches live in small herds that typically contain less than a dozen birds.
Contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand.
Kevin Hart talks about his encounter with a Ostrich in his stand up I'm A Grown Little Man.
Somewhere in a land far, far away lives an ostrich who thinks he's a car.
Good news — Ostrich Pillow's got ya covered.
' Ostrich Pillow' catches web's attention.
DARPA's FastRunner is a Robo- Ostrich Capable of 30 MPH Sprints.
The Ostrich Pillow has raised more than $130,000 on Kickstarter.
Los Campesinos with Yellow Ostrich at Plush, Saturday, June 16.
Los Campesinos and Yellow Ostrich shake, rattle and indie rock at Plush, Saturday, June 16.
Kissed by a sea lion at the Ostrich Festival.

In science:

He himself admitted in 1954, “I must seem like an ostrich who buries its head in the rela tivistic sand in order no t to face the evil quan ta”.
Unification after 150 years