albatross (a)round (one's) neck

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albatross (a)round (one's) neck

A heavy burden that prevents one from achieving success. The phrase refers to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in which the narrator kills an albatross—a large white bird deemed an omen of good fortune. This act is thought to curse his ship, so he must then wear the albatross around his neck. The old property became an albatross around his neck as the costs of repair and renovation began to skyrocket.
See also: albatross, 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

an albatross around your neck

BRITISH, AMERICAN or

an albatross round your neck

BRITISH
If you describe something as an albatross around your neck or round your neck, you mean that it causes you great problems from which you cannot escape, or it prevents you from doing what you want to do. Being the son of a major criminal was an albatross around my neck. He agrees the song is a musical albatross around their necks. Note: This is a reference to the poem `The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in which the character who shot an albatross (= a large, white sea bird) has to carry the bird hung around his neck.
See also: albatross, around, neck

albatross round someone's neck

something that is burdensome to someone and hinders their progress, especially arising from some misdeed of their own in the past.
From the albatross shot dead by the sailor in Coleridge 's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner ( 1798 ), which brought his ship bad luck. The bird was hung round his neck as a sign of his guilt.
2000 Sunday Herald Being the offspring of a famous guy has become an albatross round the neck of many a budding young lion.
See also: albatross, neck, round

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 ?
This is proving a growing burden, and comes on top of that other huge financial albatross around our necks - the looming pensions crisis.
Back then we were led to believe that the golden calf was in fine fettle and the only albatross around our necks was the imminent demise of the planet.
The responsibility to forgive those who trespass against us hangs like an albatross around our necks and makes the weight of our own discernment doubly heavy.
We've jettisoned the 'sickness' label, which was an albatross around our necks," says veteran activist Barbara Gittings, also featured in Gay Pioneers.
For the record: We wear a millstone or albatross around our necks and put our noses to the grindstone.
He added: "I can still picture the goal when Fenerbahce beat us - a really scruffy effort - although, to be honest, that unbeaten record had become like an albatross around our necks and it was a relief when it had gone.
The thing about ourselves and Aberdeen is that our recent history is an albatross around our necks 'Perhaps finishing sixth would not be the most memorable moment for United.
It will be like an albatross around our necks and we knew nothing about it - not even the councillors in Treoes knew anything,' she said.
Coun Storey last night said: "After nine years of having the highest council tax in the country, Liverpool is finally losing that albatross around our necks.
I used to describe it as an albatross around our necks, but it is only in certain areas, and there is nothing to be done about it.