ko·​ala kə-ˈwä-lə How to pronounce koala (audio)
: an Australian arboreal marsupial (Phascolarctos cinereus) that has a broad head, large hairy ears, dense gray fur, and sharp claws and feeds on eucalyptus leaves

called also koala bear

Illustration of koala

Illustration of koala

Examples of koala in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The mixed animal edition has guest appearances by koalas, ducklings, and other cute critters. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 24 Oct. 2023 Get up close and personal with Australia's unique wildlife on Kangaroo Island's nature reserve and see koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, fur seals, penguins, and kookaburras. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 12 Oct. 2023 Powell and Bindi have also shared photos of their daughter’s animal encounters, including pictures of Grace next to kangaroos, tortoises and a koala. Alexandra Hurtado, Peoplemag, 2 Nov. 2023 This time, the researchers looked at preserved and frozen mammal specimens from the Western Australian Museum collection, frozen platypus and Tasmanian devil specimens from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and koalas and echidnas from the Australian city of Yanchep. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Oct. 2023 But Australian wildlife officials predicted koalas — notorious for chilling out in trees, stoned on eucalyptus — wouldn’t figure them out. Martha Shade, CNN, 8 Oct. 2023 Explore the coastal trail that runs through Noosa National Park and keep your eyes peeled for resident koalas hanging out in the trees. Karen I. Chen, Travel + Leisure, 6 Oct. 2023 Now imagine that same koala, or one quite like it, weighing in at a much more manageable (and potentially cuter) six pounds. Natasha Frost, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 While Australia does have an impressive array of particularly charismatic examples — Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, koalas, wombats, wallabies and bandicoots, to name a few — these comprise roughly 70 percent of the world’s population, with the other 30 percent hailing from the Americas. Natasha Frost, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Dharuk (Australian aboriginal language of the Port Jackson area) gula, gulawanʸ

First Known Use

1802, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of koala was in 1802

Dictionary Entries Near koala

Cite this Entry

“Koala.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/koala. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ko·​ala kō-ˈäl-ə How to pronounce koala (audio)
: an Australian tree-dwelling marsupial mammal that has large hairy ears, thick gray fur, sharp claws for climbing, and no tail and feeds on eucalyptus leaves

called also koala bear

More from Merriam-Webster on koala

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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