al·ba·tross (ălbə-trôs′, -trŏs′)
n. pl. albatross or al·ba·tross·es
1. Any of several large web-footed birds constituting the family Diomedeidae, chiefly of the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere, and having a hooked beak and long narrow wings.
a. A source of worry or distress.
b. An obstacle to success. See Synonyms at burden.
[Probably alteration (influenced by Latin albus, white) of alcatras, pelican, from Portuguese or Spanish alcatraz, from Arabic al-ġaṭṭās : al-, the + ġaṭṭās, diver, sea eagle (from ġaṭasa, to plunge, dive; see ġṭs in the Appendix of Semitic roots). Sense 2, after the albatross in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which the mariner killed and had to wear around his neck as a penance .]
(click for a larger image)albatross
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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