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

Examples of cockatoo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The paper, which is being presented at a science conference on Tuesday, focuses on Ms. Cunha’s parrot, an 11-year-old Goffin’s cockatoo named Ellie. Emily Anthes, New York Times, 12 May 2024 An estimated 40% of cockatoos and African Greys, two popular species of parrots, reportedly engage in potentially harmful feather destruction. Mack Degeurin, Popular Science, 2 May 2024 Two cockatoos began touching beaks and preening each other. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Apr. 2024 The three-in-one set creates a rabbit and carrot for some festive fun, and it can also be built into a cockatoo parrot or seal. Clara McMahon, Peoplemag, 14 Mar. 2024 The company, Atlanta Film Animals, disputes PETA’s claims related to a variety of its creatures, from monkeys to cockatoos. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Feb. 2024 In experiments, cockatoos have danced to music and video called other parrots. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Dec. 2023 The birds represented a variety of species, including macaws, grey parrots, cockatoos and parakeets. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2024 Irwin's husband Chandler Powell, 27, also shared a photo from the party on Instagram, holding a cockatoo on his arm while his daughter looked in awe. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 25 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cockatoo.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 May. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!