albatross

albatross (n.) 1670s, probably from Spanish or Portuguese alcatraz "pelican" (16c.), perhaps derived from Arabic al-ghattas "sea eagle" [Barnhart]; or from Port. alcatruz "the bucket of a water wheel" [OED], from Arabic al-qadus "machine for drawing water, jar" (from Gk. kados "jar"), in reference to the pelican's pouch (Cf. Arabic saqqa "pelican," lit. "water carrier"). Either way, the spelling was influenced by L. albus "white." The name was extended, through some mistake, by English sailors to a larger sea-bird (order Tubinares).
Albatrosses were considered good luck by sailors; figurative sense of "burden" (1936) is from Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1798) about the bad luck of a sailor who shoots an albatross and then is forced to wear its corpse as an indication that he, not the whole ship, offended against the bird. The prison-island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay is named for pelicans that roosted there.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Albatross — (Ливадион,Греция) Категория отеля: 1 звездочный отель Адрес: Livadi, Ливадион, 84005, Грец …   Каталог отелей

  • Albatross — (Kaunata,Латвия) Категория отеля: Адрес: Rogs, Kaunatas pagasts, Rēzeknes novads, Kaunata …   Каталог отелей

  • Albatross — (Агиос Состис,Греция) Категория отеля: Адрес: Ayios Sostis, Агиос Состис, 84200, Греция …   Каталог отелей

  • Albatross — (Маратокампос,Греция) Категория отеля: Адрес: Marathókampos, Маратокампос, 83102, Греция …   Каталог отелей

  • albatross — [al′bə trôs΄, al′bəträs΄] n. pl. albatrosses or albatross [altered, prob. infl. by albus, white < Sp alcatraz, lit., pelican < Port, pelican, orig., bucket < Ar al qādūs, water wheel basket, scoop < Gr kados, cask, jar; prob. < Heb …   English World dictionary

  • Albatross — Al ba*tross, n. [Corrupt. fr. Pg. alcatraz cormorant, albatross, or Sp. alcatraz a pelican: cf. Pg. alcatruz, Sp. arcaduz, a bucket, fr. Ar. al q[=a]dus the bucket, fr. Gr. ka dos, a water vessel. So an Arabic term for pelican is water carrier,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • albatross — [n] burden cross to bear, disgrace, load, millstone, misery, woe; concepts 532,690 …   New thesaurus

  • albatross — ► NOUN (pl. albatrosses) 1) a very large seabird with long narrow wings, found chiefly in the southern oceans. 2) a burden or encumbrance (in allusion to Coleridge s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner). ORIGIN alteration (influenced by Latin albus… …   English terms dictionary

  • Albatross — This article is about the bird family. For other uses, see Albatross (disambiguation). Albatross Temporal range: Oligocene–recent …   Wikipedia

  • Albatross — Albatros (englische Schreibweise Albatross) bezeichnet: Albatrosse, eine Familie von Seevögeln eine Punktwertung im Golfsport, siehe Golf (Sport)#Par den Literaturpreis der Günter Grass Stiftung einen Titel für Seeleute, die das Kap Hoorn… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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