os·trich (ŏstrĭch, ôs-)
n. pl. ostrich or os·trich·es
a. Either of two large, swift-running flightless birds (Struthio camelus or S. molybdophanes) of Africa, characterized by a long bare neck, small head, and two-toed feet. Ostriches are the largest living birds.
b. A rhea.
2. One who tries to avoid disagreeable situations by refusing to face them.
[Middle English, from Old French ostrusce, ostrice and Medieval Latin ostrica, both from Vulgar Latin *avis strūthiō : Latin avis, bird; see awi- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + Late Latin strūthiō, ostrich; see STRUTHIOUS.]
(click for a larger image)ostrich
male ostrich, Struthio camelus,
guarding a nest
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.