Albatross Around My Neck – Idiom, Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

You might have heard the phrase an albatross around my neck and wondered, “Why would anyone want to carry a large seabird around their neck?”

Well, I can tell you no birds were harmed in the making of this idiom. The phrase isn’t meant to be literal. It’s a metaphor that carries a pretty significant meaning. Let’s take a moment to check it out as I teach you how to understand this one better.

Meaning of Albatross Around My Neck

Albatross Around My Neck Idiom Origin Meaning

The phrase albatross around my neck refers to a heavy burden or some sort of curse that’s causing distress or stopping you from doing something.

This burden could be anything from a person, an obligation, a debt, a mistake from the past or guilt. Heck, you can even chuck it up to plain old bad luck.

When you have an albatross around your neck, you carry the weight of something holding you back or dragging you down. Kind of like carrying around a big bird, only less feathery and more metaphorical.

Albatross Around Her Neck Origin

Our feathered idiom takes flight from an old poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the poem, the mariner shoots an albatross, a bird that some consider to bring good luck.

But after the bird’s death, the ship’s luck turns sour, and the crew blames the mariner for their misfortune. As a bizarre form of punishment, they hang the dead bird around his neck. So, the phrase an albatross around the neck came to symbolize a heavy burden or curse you have to carry because of a mistake or wrong deed.

Albatross Around My Neck Synonyms

In need of some variety? Here are some alternative phrases you can easily use in place of an albatross around my neck.

  • A millstone around my neck
  • A burden to bear
  • My cross to bear
  • A monkey on my back

Albatross Around One’s Neck Examples in a Sentence

Albatross Around My Neck Idiom Origin Meaning 1

Ready to see this phrase in flight? Here are a handful of examples I whipped up to show how you can use it in a sentence.

  • After the doomed project, the guilt felt like an albatross around my neck because I was the one leading the way.
  • The debt from the failed business venture became an albatross around Jane’s neck, and she had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.
  • Dan’s criminal past was an albatross around his neck, and it constantly prevented him from moving forward with a new career and life.
  • The heinous scandal became an albatross around the politician’s neck, threatening his entire career.
  • Ever since Dina lost her job, her student loans have become an albatross around her neck, weighing her down with financial burdens.
  • Keeping a secret you can’t share with anyone can feel like an albatross around your neck.

Money and making the university sustainable are the biggest worries that have hung like an albatross around his predecessors’ necks, and he knows that any mention of the word “stipends” was akin to stepping on a minefield of protest from all quarters. (The Times of Malta)

Fly Free

So, just remember that we’re no longer making people sport a dead bird around their neck. This saying is merely a metaphor or idiom we use to describe how something feels like a heavy burden and is stopping you from achieving your goal. Hope my guide helped clear that up! Happy idiom-ing, and may your necks be albatross-free!

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