albatross

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Related to albatrosses: Diomedeidae, wandering albatross

albatross

1. A sign or omen of good fortune, specifically in relation to sailing. In this instance, it is a literal albatross that is a symbol of good luck. We saw an albatross flying overhead as soon as we set out, so I think it's safe to say we're going to have a smooth trip out to sea.
2. Something that is considered cursed, an ill omen, or the bringer of bad luck. This metaphorical use of the term is an allusion to the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in which the titular narrator kills an albatross (usually an omen of good fortune), bringing a curse upon himself and his ship. Ever since he gave that disastrous campaign speech, the congressman has been seen as something of an albatross for the fortunes of his party.

albatross around/round your neck

  (literary)
something that you have done or are connected with that keeps causing you problems and stops you from being successful
Usage notes: An albatross is a large white bird. In the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a man on a ship kills an albatross which is then hung round his neck to show that he has brought bad luck.
The company that he founded in 1983 is now an albatross around his neck, making losses of several hundreds of thousands a year.
See also: albatross, around, neck

albatross around one's neck

A heavy burden of guilt that becomes an obstacle to success, as in The failed real estate scheme became an albatross around her neck, for now she could not interest other investors in a new project . This idiom comes from Samuel Coleridge's narrative poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), which is based on the widespread superstition that it is unlucky to kill this large white sea bird. In the poem a sailor does kill an albatross, and when the ship then is becalmed near the equator and runs out of water, his shipmates blame him and force him to wear the dead bird around his neck.
See also: albatross, around, neck

albatross around one's neck

A burden or stigma brought on by one's actions. Sailors considered the albatross bird to be an omen or manifestation of good luck, and to harm one was to invite disaster not only to the shooter or trapper but the entire ship's company. In Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner,” the ship's captain killed one such bird that had landed on the deck while the ship was becalmed. When the wind continued to stay away, the crew blamed the captain's action for the bad luck, and he was forced to wear the albatross's carcass around his neck as a reminder of his misdeed.
See also: albatross, around, neck
References in periodicals archive ?
Results here indicate the potential for pelagic longline fishing in the Atlantic to pose a threat to albatrosses in particular.
Fortunately, that event occurred in August, when all the albatrosses had left for the year.
When we analyzed the variables that explained the incidental capture for both species separately, moonlight was the most important for albatrosses (F=4.
Some features of the upper-leg bone are similar to those of that bone in albatrosses.
The results may provide inspiration for robotic aircraft that utilize the flight technique of albatrosses for engineless propulsion, the authors wrote.
Albatrosses, which have been around for 50 million years, are the largest flying birds in the world, but it's estimated that around 80,000 of them are killed each year by fishing boats engaged in longline and trawl fishing vessels.
This indicates that the birds are behaving just like albatrosses should, flying extensively and recognizing their own species.
Birds such as albatrosses, shearwaters and fulmars are being accidentally caught by hooks on the lines which can be more than 60 miles long, and dragged underwater where they drown.
Long-line fishing is killing albatrosses but the Task Force is showing fishermen how to avoid catching albatrosses.
Some dynamics of a breeding colony of Laysan Albatrosses.
John said he was allowed to go ashore on the atoll and get up close to the virtually tame albatrosses.
It's once in a lifetime albatrosses land in Britain - but it's unique for this species.
Having a handicap is not a bad thing on the golf course, a bad lie has nothing to do with making promises you cannot keep, and golf fans really do want to see eagles, albatrosses and birdies flying around the course.
It was one of 18 Tasmanian Shy Albatrosses which began their migration from islands off Australia last month and tracked on the internet.
Available estimates for total albatross mortality in North Pacific pelagic longline fisheries, along with population modeling experiments on the Black-footed Albatross, highlight the concern that mortality in longline fisheries threatens the existence of Black-footed Albatrosses and may pose a significant threat to the other North Pacific albatross species.