Meaning of albatross in English:


Pronunciation /ˈalbətrɒs/

See synonyms for albatross on

Translate albatross into Spanish

nounplural noun albatrosses

  • 1A very large, chiefly white oceanic bird with long, narrow wings, found mainly in the southern oceans.

    Family Diomedeidae: genera Diomedea and Phoebetria

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Conservationists say unregulated fisheries in the southern oceans are endangering the albatross.’
    • ‘Pteranodon was almost certainly a soaring animal; it used rising warm air to maintain altitude; a common strategy among large winged animals (among birds, albatrosses and vultures are adept at soaring).’
    • ‘It is unusual in that it is a dark albatross; most other albatrosses are predominantly white.’
    • ‘But seabirds such as albatrosses and petrels, which have large, tubular nostrils, are known to use scent clues to locate nesting sites and prey out at sea.’
    • ‘Many of the oceanic birds, the petrels, the albatrosses, the penguins etc., nest on but one or a few islands and are completely dependent for survival on the integrity of these places.’
    • ‘For me, it will always be a trip of a lifetime, as we were soon surrounded by a bewildering assortment of albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels, each a new species for us.’
    • ‘Seabirds, particularly albatrosses and petrels, regularly grab the baited hooks.’
    • ‘Taking measures to prevent the accidental capture of birds benefits both the albatross and the fishermen, since they can catch more fish if the hooks are not catching birds by mistake.’
    • ‘In general, larger birds like the albatross tend to live longer than smaller species.’
    • ‘It is home to many birds such as albatross, penguins, cormorants, gulls and gannets, and the New Zealand fur seal, which can easily be seen from the road lazing around in rocky areas.’
    • ‘Petrels, albatrosses, cormorants, frigatebirds, gulls etc. are mysterious and inspiring birds: often the subject of poetic stories and lots of myths around the world.’
    • ‘There are hundreds of different types of birds including five types of penguins, albatrosses, and cara caras (a rare bird of prey).’
    • ‘Among oceangoing avian species, albatrosses and frigatebirds are the quintessential seabirds.’
    • ‘Many of these vessels head for the southern oceans - to the major albatross feeding grounds.’
    • ‘Flamingos are conceded by all to be closely linked to pelicans, albatrosses, loons, probably penguins, and the like - the charadriomorph lineage.’
    • ‘And of course, today we have such adept flyers as the swallows, hummingbirds, falcons, and the soaring albatrosses which demonstrate the great diversity of flight adaptations in birds.’
    • ‘Fishing experts estimate that about 60,000 sea birds including about 2,000 giant petrels and around 10,000 albatrosses are killed this way every year.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The albatross has flown-the responsibility now rests on the observers of today and tomorrow to ensure it stays aloft.’
      • ‘No-one is hanging albatrosses around the necks of the writers or of the responders.’
      • ‘The ultimate target was Primakov, but the Kremlin's strategy was first to blast Luzhkov so as to turn him into a burdensome, malodorous albatross around the former prime minister's neck.’
      responsibility, obligation, liability
  • 2Golf

    another term for double eagle

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Gary Evans has been a professional for 13 years and his albatross at the 4th hole was the first of his career.’
    • ‘In America, the term double eagle is used instead of albatross to describe such a feat!’


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’.