cock·​a·​too ˈkä-kə-ˌtü How to pronounce cockatoo (audio)
plural cockatoos
: any of various large noisy chiefly Australasian crested parrots (family Cacatuidae and especially genus Cacatua)

Illustration of cockatoo

Illustration of cockatoo

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web One cockatoo, Figaro, decided not to waste time thinking and instead carried both tools in almost every trial. Melissa Breyer, Treehugger, 10 Feb. 2023 Julie, a 35-year-old cockatoo, was stolen from the the Steckel Park Bird Aviary in Santa Paula, California. Erin Pflaumer, CBS News, 12 Jan. 2023 The Goffin’s cockatoo is the handyman of the avian kingdom. Byvirginia Morell,, 10 Feb. 2023 Detectives then rescued the bird from an acquaintance of Wear who was holding the cockatoo, police said. Erin Pflaumer, CBS News, 12 Jan. 2023 Cookie the cockatoo, seen here in 2008, passed away in 2016 at the age of 83. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 17 Jan. 2023 The Ventura County Sheriff's Office said the 35-year-old cockatoo, named Julie, is valued at $2,500. Erin Pflaumer, CBS News, 12 Jan. 2023 Now researchers find a cockatoo named Snowball can boogie with the best using a repertoire of 14 dance moves. Roni Dengler, Discover Magazine, 8 July 2019 The movie where Allison Janney has a cockatoo on her shoulder and robbed Laurie Metcalf of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar is also, allegedly, about figure skating: namely, the infamous attack on Nancy Kerrigan by rival Tonya Harding’s husband. Vulture, 7 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cockatoo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Dutch kaketoe, from Malay kakatua

First Known Use

1634, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cockatoo was in 1634

Dictionary Entries Near cockatoo

Cite this Entry

“Cockatoo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


cock·​a·​too ˈkäk-ə-ˌtü How to pronounce cockatoo (audio)
plural cockatoos
: any of various large noisy usually showy chiefly Australasian parrots that have a bunch of feathers on the head

More from Merriam-Webster on cockatoo

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