OS'TRICH, n. [L. struthio-camelus; Gr. a sparrow, and an ostrich. The meaning of the name is not obvious. Eng. strut, L. struthio, Gr., L. avis. The primary sense of struz, struthio, etc. is to reach, stretch, extend or erect; but whether this name was given to the fowl from its stately walk or appearance, or from some part of its plumage, let the reader judge.] A fowl now considered as constituting a distinct genus, the Struthio. This is the largest of all fowls, being four feet high from the ground to the top of the back and seven, eight, and it is said even ten to the top of the head, when standing erect. Its thighs and the sides of the body are naked, and the wings are so short as to be unfit for flying. The plumage is elegant, and much used in ornamental and showy dress. The speed of this fowl in running exceeds that of the fleetest horse.
n 1: 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) 2: fast-running African flightless bird with two-toed feet; largest living bird [syn: ostrich, Struthio camelus]
nounEtymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French ostriz, ostrige, from Vulgar Latin *avis struthio, from Latin avis bird + Late Latin struthio ostrich — more at struthiousDate: 13th century 1.a. a swift-footed 2-toed flightless ratite bird (Struthio camelus) of Africa that is the largest of existing birds and often weighs 300 pounds (140 kilograms) b.rheac. leather made from ostrich skin 2. [from the belief that the ostrich when pursued hides its head in the sand and believes itself to be unseen] one who attempts to avoid danger or difficulty by refusing to face it • ostrichlikeadjective
Two-toed, long-necked, ratite (Struthio camelus, family Struthionidae) found in Africa, the largest living bird. An adult male ostrich may be 8 ft (2.5 m) tall and weigh up to 350 lbs (155 kg). Males are black, with white wing and tail plumes; females are brown. Ostriches live in flocks of 5-50, usually among grazing animals, eating plants and an occasional animal. Roaring, hissing males fight for three to five hens, which lay 15-60 eggs in a communal nest scraped in the ground. The male sits at night; the females take turns by day. One-month-old chicks can run with adults, at 40 mph (65 kph). To escape detection, ostriches may lie on the ground with neck outstretched, a habit that may have given rise to the notion that they bury their head in the sand.
n. 1 a large African swift-running flightless bird, Struthio camelus, with long legs and two toes on each foot. 2 a person who refuses to accept facts (from the belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when pursued). Phrases and idioms: ostrich-farm a place that breeds ostriches for their feathers. ostrich-plume a feather or bunch of feathers of an ostrich. Etymology: ME f. OF ostric(h)e f. L avis bird + LL struthio f. Gk strouthion ostrich f. strouthos sparrow, ostrich
Ostrich Os"trich, n. [OE. ostriche, ostrice, OF. ostruche, ostruce, F. autruche, L. avis struthio; avis bird + struthio ostrich, fr. Gr. ?, fr. ? bird, sparrow. Cf. Aviary, Struthious.] [Formerly written also estrich.] (Zo["o]l.) 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. Note: 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. Ostrich farm, a farm on which ostriches are bred for the sake of their feathers, oil, eggs, etc. Ostrich farming, the occupation of breeding ostriches for the sake of their feathers, etc. Ostrich fern (Bot.) a kind of fern (Onoclea Struthiopteris), the tall fronds of which grow in a circle from the rootstock. It is found in alluvial soil in Europe and North America.
(Lam. 4:3), the rendering of Hebrew pl. enim; so called from its greediness and gluttony. The allusion here is to the habit of the ostrich with reference to its eggs, which is thus described: "The outer layer of eggs is generally so ill covered that they are destroyed in quantities by jackals, wild-cats, etc., and that the natives carry them away, only taking care not to leave the marks of their footsteps, since, when the ostrich comes and finds that her nest is discovered, she crushes the whole brood, and builds a nest elsewhere." In Job 39:13 this word in the Authorized Version is the rendering of a Hebrew word (notsah) which means "feathers," as in the Revised Version. In the same verse the word "peacocks" of the Authorized Version is the rendering of the Hebrew pl. renanim, properly meaning "ostriches," as in the Revised Version. (See OWL .)
os'-trich (ya`anah; strouthos; Latin Struthio camelus): The largest bird now living. The Hebrew words ya`anah, which means "greediness," and bath ha-ya`anah, "daughter of greediness," are made to refer to the indiscriminate diet of the ostrich, to which bird they apply; and again to the owl, with no applicability. The owl at times has a struggle to swallow whole prey it has taken, but the mere fact that it is a night hunter forever shuts it from the class of greedy and promiscuous feeders. The bodies of owls are proverbially lean like eagles. Neither did the owl frequent several places where older versions of Jer and Isa place it; so the translations are now correctly rendered "ostrich." These birds came into the Bible because of their desert life, the companions they lived among there, and because of their night cries that were guttural, terrifying groans, like the roaring of lions. The birds were brought into many pictures of desolation, because people dreaded their fearful voices. They horned on the trackless deserts that were dreaded by travelers, and when they came feeding on the fringe of the wilderness, they fell into company with vulture, eagle, lion, jackal and adder, and joined their voices with the night hawks and owls. For these reasons no birds were more suitable for drawing strong comparisons from.
1. Physical Peculiarities:
They attained a height ranging from 6 to 8 ft., and weighed from 200 to 300 lbs. The head was small with large eyes having powerful vision, and protected by lashes. The neck was long, covered with down, and the windpipe showed, while large bites could be seen to slide down the gullet. The legs were bare, long, and the muscles like steel from the long distances covered in desert travel. The foot was much like the cloven hoof of a beast. The inner toe was 7 inches long, with a clawlike hoof, the outer, smaller with no claw. With its length and strength of leg and the weight of foot it could strike a blow that saved it from attack by beasts smaller than a leopard. The wings were small, the muscles soft and flabby. They would not bear the weight of the bird, but the habit of lifting and beating them proved that this assisted in attaining speed in running (compare Xen. Anab. i.5,2, 3). The body was covered with soft flexible feathers, the wings and tail growing long plumes, for which the bird has been pursued since the beginning of time. These exquisite feathers were first used to decorate the headdress and shields of desert chieftains, then as decorations for royalty, and later for hat and hair ornaments. The badge of the Prince of Wales is three white ostrich plumes. The females are smaller, the colors gray and white, the males a glossy black, the wing and tail plumes white. The ostrich has three physical peculiarities that stagger scientists. It has eyelashes, developed no doubt to protect the eyes from the dust and sand of desert life. On the wings are two plumeless shafts like large porcupine quills. These may be used in resisting attack. It also has a bladder like a mammal, that collects uric acid, the rarest organ ever developed in a feathered creature.
2. Eggs and Care of Young:
These birds homed on the deserts of Arabia and at the lower end of the great Salt Sea. Here the ostrich left her eggs on the earth and warmed them in the sand. That they were not hard baked was due to the fact that they were covered for protection during the day and brooded through the cooler nights. The eggs average 3 lbs. weight. They have been used for food in the haunts of the ostrich since the records of history began, and their stout shells for drinking-vessels. It is the custom of natives on finding a nest to take a long stick and draw out an egg. If incubation has advanced enough to spoil the eggs for use, the nest is carefully covered and left; if fresh, they are eaten, one egg being sufficient for a small family. No doubt these were the eggs to which Job referred as being tasteless without salt (Job 6:6). The number of eggs in the nest was due to the fact that the birds were polygamous, one male leading from 2 to 7 females, all of which deposited their eggs in a common nest. When several females wanted to use the nest at the same time, the first one to reach it deposited her egg in it, and the others on the sand close beside. This accounts for the careless habits of the ostrich as to her young. In this communal nest, containing from 2 to 3 dozen eggs, it is impossible for the mother bird to know which of the young is hers. So all of them united in laying the eggs and allowing the father to look after the nest and the young. The bird first appears among the abominations in Le 11:16 the Revised Version (British and American) the King James Version "owl"; De 14:16, the Revised Version (British and American) "little owl," the King James Version "owl." This must have referred to the toughness of grown specimens, since there was nothing offensive in the bird's diet to taint its flesh and the young tender ones were delicious meat. In his agony, Job felt so much an outcast that he cried:
"I am a brother to jackals,
And a companion to ostriches" (Job 30:29).
Again he records that the Almighty discoursed to him about the ostrich in the following manner:
"The wings of the ostrich wave proudly;
But are they the pinions and plumage of love?" etc.
3. Old Testament References:
The ostrich history previously given explains all this passage save the last two verses, the first of which is a reference to the fact that the Arabs thought that the ostrich was a stupid bird, because, when it had traveled to the point of exhaustion, it hid its head and thought its body safe, and because some of its eggs were found outside the nest. The second was due to a well-known fact that, given a straight course, the ostrich could outrun a horse. The birds could attain and keep up a speed of 60 miles an hour for the greater part of half a day and even longer, hence, it was possible to capture them only by a system of relay riders (Xenophon, op. cit.) When Isaiah predicted the fall of Babylon, he used these words: "But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and ostriches shall dwell there, and wild goats shall dance there" (Isa 13:21). Because this was to be the destruction of a great city, located on the Euphrates River and built by the fertility and prosperity of the country surrounding it, and the ruins those of homes, the bird indicated by every natural condition would be the owl. The wild goats clambering over the ruins would be natural companions and the sneaking wolves--but not the big bird of daytime travel, desert habitation, accustomed to constant pursuit for its plumage. Exactly the same argument applies to the next reference by the same writer (Isa 34:13). "And the wild beasts of the desert shall meet with the wolves, and the wild goat shall cry to his fellow; yea, the night monster shall settle there, and shall find her a place of rest" (Isa 34:14). "The beasts of the field shall honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen" (Isa 43:20). Here we find the ostrich in its natural location, surrounded by creatures that were its daily companions. The next reference also places the bird at home and in customary company: "Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wolves shall dwelI there, and the ostriches (the King James Version "owls") shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited forever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation" (Jer 50:39).
"Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones:
The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness" (La 4:3).
This reference is made to the supposed cruelty of the ostrich in not raising its young.