cock·​a·​too | \ ˈkä-kə-ˌtü How to pronounce cockatoo (audio) \
plural cockatoos

Definition of cockatoo

: any of various large noisy chiefly Australasian crested parrots (family Cacatuidae and especially genus Cacatua)

Illustration of cockatoo

Illustration of cockatoo

Examples of cockatoo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That life is corrosion and decay, blossoms and smiles, the squawk of a cockatoo. New York Times, 6 Sep. 2021 The artist Joseph Cornell once requested a picture of a street urchin with a white cockatoo. New York Times, 3 Aug. 2021 Busting the bin open is no easy task for a cockatoo, requiring an elaborate sequence of lifting, lid holding, walking and flipping steps. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 July 2021 But Claudio Tennie, a cognitive scientist at the University of Tübingen, says the cockatoo culture conclusion is premature. Cathleen O’grady, Science | AAAS, 22 July 2021 Bribing the birds with sunflower seeds, the team dabbed nearly 500 cockatoo passers-by with temporary paint to tell different individuals apart. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 July 2021 Now, was this bin-opening cockatoo especially clever, or was everyone doing it? Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 22 July 2021 The focal point is a white cockatoo inside the vessel near the apex of the composition, sure to be asphyxiated as a demonstration of the absence of air in a vacuum. Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2021 It had been preceded by another cockatoo, two and a half centuries earlier. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 28 June 2021

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.

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First Known Use of cockatoo

1634, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cockatoo

Dutch kaketoe, from Malay kakatua

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Time Traveler for cockatoo

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The first known use of cockatoo was in 1634

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Dictionary Entries Near cockatoo



cockatoo bush

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Last Updated

29 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cockatoo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for cockatoo



English Language Learners Definition of cockatoo

: a type of large parrot from Australia that has a large colorful bunch of feathers on top of its head


cock·​a·​too | \ ˈkä-kə-ˌtü How to pronounce cockatoo (audio) \
plural cockatoos

Kids Definition of cockatoo

: a large, noisy, and usually brightly colored crested parrot mostly of Australia

More from Merriam-Webster on cockatoo

Nglish: Translation of cockatoo for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cockatoo


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