from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of several large web-footed birds constituting the family Diomedeidae, chiefly of the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere, and having a hooked beak and long narrow wings.
- n. A constant, worrisome burden.
- n. An obstacle to success.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any of various large seabirds of the family Diomedeidae ranging widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific and having a hooked beak and long narrow wings.
- n. A double eagle, or three under par on any one hole.
- n. A long-term impediment, burden, or curse.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A web-footed bird, of the genus Diomedea, of which there are several species. They are the largest of sea birds, capable of long-continued flight, and are often seen at great distances from the land. They are found chiefly in the southern hemisphere.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A web-footed sea-bird of the petrel family, Procellariidæ, and subfamily Diomedeinæ.
- n. A thin untwilled woolen material used for women's dresses.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. large web-footed birds of the southern hemisphere having long narrow wings; noted for powerful gliding flight
- n. (figurative) something that hinders or handicaps
Probably alteration (influenced by Latin albus, white) of alcatras, pelican, from Portuguese or Spanish alcatraz, from Arabic al-ġaṭṭās : al-, the + ġaṭṭās, diver, sea eagle (from ġaṭasa, to plunge, dive; see ġṭs in Semitic roots). Sense 2, after the albatross in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which the mariner killed and had to wear around his neck as a penance.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
An alteration of Portuguese word alcatraz ("gannet"), under influence of the Latin word albus ("white"); alcatraz comes from Arabic القطرس (al-qaṭrās', "sea eagle"). (Wiktionary)