Definition of albatross in English:

albatross

Line breaks: al¦ba|tross
Pronunciation: /ˈalbətrɒs
 
/

noun (plural albatrosses)

  • 1A very large, chiefly white oceanic bird with long, narrow wings, found mainly in the southern oceans.
    • Family Diomedeidae: genera Diomedea and Phoebetria
    More example sentences
    • A birdwatcher 65 million years ago could have seen relatives of today's loons, geese and ducks, albatrosses and petrels, and gulls and shorebirds, and possibly other familiar birds as well.
    • It's penguins, albatrosses, caracaras, steamer ducks and a couple of endemic small jobs you've come for.
    • The black frigatebirds, with their sharply angled wings, ride rising thermals, whereas the white albatrosses, with their long narrow wings, catch a lift on a cold gale.
  • 1.1A source of frustration or guilt; an encumbrance (in allusion to Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner): an albatross of a marriage
    More example sentences
    • Queen Noor of Jordan is backing an albatross aptly named The Ancient Mariner.
    • Instead, they see it as a problem, as a liability, as an albatross around our financial necks.
    • However, the average student, in order simply to meet the expense of university education - even with parental support - is still burdened by the albatross of a £12,000 debt on leaving.
  • 2 Golf another term for double eagle.
    More example sentences
    • In 2002, there were four albatrosses on the PGA Tour, versus 40 holes-in-one.
    • In the modified stableford format, an albatross is worth eight points, an eagle five and a birdie two, while a par is worth nothing and players lose one point for a bogey and two for multiple bogeys.
    • Thanks to his albatross and some solid golf thereafter he finished three under.

Origin

late 17th century: alteration (influenced by Latin albus 'white') of 16th-century alcatras, applied to various seabirds including the frigate bird and pelican, from Spanish and Portuguese alcatraz, from Arabic al-ġaṭṭās 'the diver'.

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