The Meaning of Albatross: What It Is and How To Use It

An albatross is a type of bird, but this word also has another meaning. Keep reading to learn the alternate meaning of albatross!

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There are various meanings of the word albatross. You might be familiar with the bird albatross, but do you know the other meanings of this word? Keep reading to learn more! 

What Does the Word Albatross Mean?

According to Dictionary, the noun albatross usually refers to a type of web-footed large sea bird that can fly for long periods of time. An albatross belongs to the family Diomedeidae. There are many types of albatross, including the Black-footed Albatross and Laysan Albatross. The pronunciation of albatross is ˈælbəˌtrɒs.

Albatross are normally found over the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific and are of the genera Diomedea and Phoebetria. They are a part of the order Procellariiformes (petrels). These frigate birds have narrow wings, a hooked beak, and can fly for a very long time with gliding flight.

The word albatross can also be used metaphorically to refer to an emotional or moral burden that often impedes progress or action. Albatross is also a golf term for a score that is three strokes under par for a hole, also called a double eagle. Finally, an albatross can refer to a plain-weave cotton fabric or lightweight worsted fabric

What Is the Origin of the Word Albatross?

According to Your Dictionary of the English language, the word albatross comes from the Portuguese alcatraz or Spanish alcatraz. These terms stem from the from Arabic al-ġaṭṭās. The Arabic ġaṭṭās means diver or sea eagle, from ġaṭasa meaning to plunge. These have Semitic roots.

These terms may be related to the Latin albus, or “white.” The albatross was famously featured in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. That is where it began to be used in a metaphorical sense for a burden of anxiety or guilt.

How Can Albatross Be Used in a Sentence?

Take a look at the below example sentences containing albatross to learn how to use this noun.

We watched the albatross and shearwaters eat fish from a bucket.

The albatross sails across the ocean with its broad wings in search of food. It lands on the boardwalk and attacks the shoppers who have bought a crepe.

The albatrosses and the gulls befriended the sailors, who gave them leftover fish. The creatures spit the bones back in return. The sailors got albatross tattoos after forming attachments with the birds.

The golfers on the PGA tour were on a streak of albatross shots. The winds were in their favor at the golf courses, and the balls were able to fly great distances, bringing them good fortune.

In Maori culture, the tribes view the albatross symbolism as a sign of good luck. They utilize the feathers and bones and have a superstition related to the birds.

The large albatross flew over the open ocean, aided by the high winds. We saw it dive up and down to use the gusts over the oceans of the southern hemisphere.

What Are Translations of Albatross?

Nice Translator provides many translations fo albatross: 

  • Welsh: albatross
  • German: Albatros
  • Romanian: albatros
  • Spanish: albatros
  • Swedish: albatross
  • Tamil: ஆல்பாட்ரோஸ்
  • Hebrew: אַלבַּטרוֹס
  • French: albatros
  • Polish: albatros
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 信天翁
  • Japanese: アルバトロス
  • Catalan: albatros
  • Hungarian: albatrosz
  • Estonian: albatross
  • Latvian: albatross
  • Malayalam: ആൽബാട്രോസ്
  • Gujarati: આલ્બાટ્રોસ
  • Indonesian: elang laut
  • Portuguese (Portugal): albatroz
  • Ukrainian: альбатрос
  • Turkish: albatros
  • Marathi: अल्बाट्रॉस
  • Korean: 신천옹
  • Bulgarian: Албатрос
  • Chinese (PRC): 信天翁
  • Dutch: albatros
  • Serbian: албатрос
  • Basque: albatross
  • Telugu: ఆల్బాట్రాస్
  • Arabic: الباتروس
  • Slovak: albatross
  • Finnish: albatrossi
  • Russian: альбатрос
  • Hindi: भारी अड़चन
  • Thai: อัลบาทรอส
  • Kannada: ಕಡಲುಕೋಳಿ
  • Portuguese (Brazil): albatroz
  • Czech: albatros
  • Italian: Albatro
  • Greek: αλμπατρός
  • Amharic: አልባትሮስ
  • Croatian: albatros

What Are Synonyms of the Word Albatross?

Power Thesaurus states that there are many words for a burden or albatross, which can be used if someone does not know the alternate meaning of albatross:

  • adversity
  • afflict
  • affliction
  • anxiety
  • bane
  • bother
  • brunt
  • burden
  • burthen
  • care
  • cargo
  • charge
  • charging
  • chore
  • concern
  • core
  • cross
  • curse
  • difficulty
  • disadvantage
  • distress
  • disturb
  • drag
  • duty
  • effect
  • encumber
  • encumbrance
  • essence
  • freight
  • gist
  • hamper
  • handicap
  • hardship
  • haunt
  • inconvenience
  • incumbrance
  • keynote
  • lade
  • liability
  • load
  • loaded
  • loading
  • millstone
  • misery
  • misfortune
  • nuisance
  • obligation
  • onus
  • oppress
  • ordeal
  • overburden
  • overload
  • overtax
  • overwhelm
  • pain
  • payload
  • plague
  • pressure
  • problem
  • responsibility
  • saddle
  • strain
  • stress
  • substance
  • task
  • tax
  • thrust
  • torment
  • trial
  • tribulation
  • trouble
  • upset
  • weigh
  • weighing
  • weight
  • worry

What Are Antonyms of Albatross?

Power Thesaurus also lists many antonyms of albatross:

  • advantage
  • advantageous
  • advantageousness
  • amenity
  • ascendancy
  • asset
  • assistance
  • attraction
  • authority
  • avail
  • beauty
  • behalf
  • benefit
  • benefits
  • blessing
  • bonus
  • boon
  • catbird seat
  • comfort
  • convenience
  • desirability
  • dominance
  • ease
  • edge
  • entitlement
  • favor
  • gain
  • gains
  • godsend
  • good
  • good point
  • head start
  • help
  • interest
  • lead
  • leverage
  • merit
  • mileage
  • odds
  • opportunity
  • perk
  • perks
  • perquisite
  • plus
  • point
  • power
  • prerogative
  • privilege
  • profit
  • prosperity
  • purpose
  • reward
  • right
  • sake
  • service
  • strength
  • strong point
  • superiority
  • supremacy
  • upper hand
  • use
  • usefulness
  • utility
  • value
  • vantage
  • virtue
  • welfare
  • well-being
  • whip hand
  • worth

What Are Other Sea Birds?

There are many various large seabirds of the family diomedeidae and genus diomedea. All About Birds lists many of these types of birds below:

  • Sooty Shearwater
  • Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel 
  • Northern Fulmar
  • Neotropic Cormorant
  • Northern Gannet
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Masked Booby
  • Wilson’s Storm-Petrel 
  • Blue-footed Booby
  • Brown Pelican
  • Red-faced Cormorant
  • Brown Booby
  • Sooty Shearwater 
  • Magnificent Frigatebird
  • Anhinga
  • Red-footed Booby
  • American White Pelican
  • Brandt’s Cormorant
  • Great Cormorant
  • Pelagic Cormorant


Albatrosses are birds of the southern hemisphere. This large oceanic bird of the genera Diomedea was featured in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” and is now used to refer to an inescapable burden or emotional burden.

The word albatross comes from the Arabic al-ghattās and Portuguese alcatraz, or “pelican.” These birds fly across cool southern oceans.


  1. Seabirds Browse by Shape, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology | All About Birds 
  2. Albatross Definition & Meaning | 
  3. Albatross synonyms – 432 Words and Phrases for Albatross | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Albatross antonyms – 79 Opposites of Albatross | Power Thesaurus 
  5. What does albatross mean? | Best 10 Definitions of Albatross | Your Dicitonary