Albatross Around My Neck


What does Albatross Around My Neck mean?

Albatross around my neck is an idiomatic expression, derived from a popular metaphor of a poem, used for a heavy burden, carried by someone, often accompanied by guilt.

It is frequently used in colloquial contexts to refer to an unpleasant duty one must carry out.


What's the origin of Albatross Around My Neck?

“Albatross around my neck” originates from the 1798 poem of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, published in “Lyrical Ballads” under the title “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”.

The ballad tells the story of a seaman killing an albatross and cursing his entire crew, along with his ship, for which his punishment is having to carry the bird’s carcass, tied to his neck.

“Albatross around my neck” was first defined as a proverbial phrase in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1883.

Spread & Usage

How did Albatross Around My Neck spread?

Despite the early definition in the Oxford English Dictionary in the 19th century, “Albatross around my neck” remained relatively unknown, used especially by people versed in literature.

It started emerging in the daily lives of the common people in the 1960’s, and its popularity has been rising ever since, although its meaning is still obscure for some, due to its highly metaphorical nature.

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