OSTRICH, the largest of the birds. The ostrich, in its habits and bodily structure, has features similar to those of a camel (its Latin name is Strutio camelus). It was formerly commonly found in eastern Transjordan but by reason of being intensively hunted has disappeared almost entirely from the Middle East region; individual ostriches are only seldom found in eastern Transjordan, to which they apparently come from the Arabian deserts where the ostrich has also become rare. In the Bible the ostrich is called ya'en (יָעֵן) and kenaf-renanim (כְּנַף רְנָנִים; AV, JPS "the wing of the ostrich"). The former name occurs once, in Lamentations (4:3): "The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness." Its description as cruel is apparently connected with the fact that when in danger it is liable in its flight to hurt its chicks and also to the fact that the female often hatches only some of the eggs, the rest being abandoned and used as food for the newly hatched chicks. Job (39:13–18) contains an extensive description of the ostrich, there called kenaf-renanim, that is, "the wing that delights the eye with its beauty." There an account is given of the way it hatches its eggs on the ground (ibid., 14–15); of the male who confuses the chicks of other females and is their leader (ibid., 16); of the ostrich's meager understanding; "Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath He imparted to her understanding" (ibid., 17; cf. the expression Vogelstrausspolitik); of its ability to escape from hunters mounted on horses (ibid., 18). The translations have identified the bat-ya'anah (בַּת יַעֲנָה), included among the unclean birds and mentioned several times as inhabiting desolate places (Isa. 13:21; Micah 1:8; et al.), with the ya'en. The bat-ya'anah was originally a species of owl but the name is used for ostrich in modern Hebrew. In the Mishnah the ostrich is called na'amit (נַעֲמִית; in Ar.: na'ama); in mishnaic and talmudic times the ostrich was well known. Vessels were made from its eggshells (Kel. 17:14), while some people bred it as an ornamental bird (Shab. 128a). Its ability to swallow anything was exploited; fed pieces of gold covered with dough, it evacuated them after the action of its gastric juice had refined the gold (TJ, Yoma 4:4, 41d). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lewysohn, Zool, 188f., no. 240; I. Aharoni, Zikhronot Zo'olog Ivri, 1 (1943), 20, 33; F.S. Bodenheimer, Animal and Man in Bible Lands (1960), 59f.; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 91. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • ostrich — os trich ([o^]s trich), n. [OE. ostriche, ostrice, OF. ostruche, ostruce, F. autruche, L. avis struthio; avis bird + struthio ostrich, fr. Gr. ?, fr. ? bird, sparrow. Cf. {Aviary}, {Struthious}.] [Formerly written also {estrich}.] (Zo[ o]l.) A… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ostrich — (n.) early 13c., from O.Fr. ostruce (Fr. autruche), from V.L. avis struthio, from L. avis bird (from PIE *awi bird ) + L.L. struthio ostrich, from Gk. strouthion ostrich, from strouthos megale big sparrow. The Greeks also knew the bird as… …   Etymology dictionary

  • ostrich — [äs′trich, ôs′trich] n. pl. ostriches or ostrich [OFr ostrusce < VL avistruthius < L avis, bird + struthio, short for struthiocamelus, ostrich < Gr strouthiokamēlos < strouthos, sparrow + kamēlos,CAMEL] 1. a swift running bird… …   English World dictionary

  • ostrich — ► NOUN 1) a large flightless swift running African bird with a long neck and long legs. 2) a person who refuses to accept unpleasant truths. [ORIGIN: from the popular belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand if pursued.] ORIGIN Old… …   English terms dictionary

  • Östrich — Östrich, Marktflecken im nassauischen Amte Eltville, am Rhein u. der Rheingaubahn; guter Weinbau; 2000 Ew.; dabei Schloß u. Gut Reichartshausen, mit Gemäldesammlung …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Östrich — Östrich, 1) Flecken im preuß. Regbez. Wiesbaden, Rheingaukreis, am Rhein, im Rheingau und mit Station Ö. Winkel an der Staatsbahnlinie Hochheim a. M. Horchheim, hat eine kath. Kirche, Synagoge, Oberförsterei, viele Villen, starken Weinbau, eine… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ostrich — For other uses, see Ostrich (disambiguation). Ostrich Temporal range: pleistocene–present …   Wikipedia

  • ostrich — ostrichlike, adj. /aw strich, os trich/, n. 1. a large, two toed, swift footed flightless bird, Struthio camelus, indigenous to Africa and Arabia, domesticated for its plumage: the largest of living birds. 2. (not used scientifically) a rhea. 3.… …   Universalium

  • ostrich — [13] Greek strouthós seems originally to have meant ‘sparrow’. Mégas strouthós ‘great sparrow’ – the understatement of the ancient world – was used for ‘ostrich’, and the ‘ostrich’ was also called strouthokámelos, because of its long camel like… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • ostrich — [13] Greek strouthós seems originally to have meant ‘sparrow’. Mégas strouthós ‘great sparrow’ – the understatement of the ancient world – was used for ‘ostrich’, and the ‘ostrich’ was also called strouthokámelos, because of its long camel like… …   Word origins

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