Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1600-1700
Origin: Probably from alcatras type of water bird (16-19 centuries), from Portuguese or Spanish alcatraz 'pelican', from Arabic al-gattas 'the diver';
Sense: 2
Origin: from the dead albatross that brought bad luck to the sailor who killed it in the poem The Ancient Mariner (1798) by S. T. Coleridge


al‧ba‧tross [countable]
1 a very large white sea bird

an albatross (around your neck)

something that causes problems for you and prevents you from succeeding:
The issue has become a political albatross for the government.

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