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Related to albatrosses: Diomedeidae, wandering 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.
3. In golf, a score of three strokes under par on a single hole. You had two strokes on that par five, right? Nice, that's an albatross! I can't believe you got an albatross on such a difficult hole—great job!

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

an albatross around your neck


an albatross round your neck

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

albatross around one's neck, an

A burden or curse. The figurative meaning comes straight from Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), a narrative poem in which a young sailor who shot an albatross, considered an extremely unlucky action, was punished by having the dead bird hung around his neck.
See also: albatross, around
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
By comparison, the greatest influence on the number of albatrosses caught would result from a doubling of rates observed by Domingo et al.
AT RISK: It's estimated 80,000 albatrosses are killed each year by long-line fishing vessels
Between 1885 and 1903, an estimated five million short-tailed albatrosses were taken from Torishima, a major breeding colony.
Wandering albatrosses fly for thousands of miles across the ocean, usually gliding a few feet above sea level.
Pat's picture is especially telling, as albatrosses are now endangered due to the huge numbers dying on hooks of longline fishing boats.
On sets with catch per unit of effort (CPUE) greater than 0, three separate multiple regressions were performed: 1) for total seabirds, 2) for albatrosses, and 3) for petrels.
Around 100,000 albatrosses a year drown when taking bait from hooks suspended on longlines up to 130km long.
The British Antarctic Survey study is the first to show where grey-headed albatrosses go during the 18 months between breeding seasons.
Fossils of early penguins some discovered as long ago as 1859, resemble the skeletons of albatrosses. Scientists in the late 1950s noted that, for a short interval after hatching, the species known as the little penguin (Eudyptula minor), have nostril tubes similar to those characteristic of modern albatrosses and their close kin, says David Penny, an evolutionary biologist at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Albatrosses can travel as much as 5,000 miles without stopping, and Safina's book traces Amelia's journeys across the Pacific and back to Tern Island, where her baby awaits its food and scientists await observation opportunities.
As the title of her latest show, "White Elephant and Albatrosses," suggests, McBride's recent work concerns anachronism, or more specifically, the weightiness of the left over.
Because of their tameness on land, albatrosses are also known as ''foolish gulls.''
The albatrosses (Diomedea, Phoebetria) are the most magnificent of all pelagic birds.