ko·​ala | \ kə-ˈwä-lə How to pronounce koala (audio) , kō-ˈä- \

Definition of koala

: 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 koala later was released in a forest — well away from the freeway. Author: Rod Mcguirk, Anchorage Daily News, "Koala rescued after 5-car pileup on Australian freeway," 9 Feb. 2021 The koala later was released in a forest — well away from the freeway. Rod Mcguirk, Star Tribune, "Koala rescued after 5-car pileup on Australian freeway," 9 Feb. 2021 Now, imagine if that cat or dog was actually a koala! Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Save the Koala Day Is Coming! Celebrate by Working from Home with a Bunch of Koalas," 23 Sep. 2020 Fires ravaged Australia, killing hundreds of koalas. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "We've got bigger problems than 'murder hornets'," 4 May 2020 Tens of thousands of koalas had no way of escaping. Matt Simon, Wired, "The Macabre Science of Animal Mass Die-Offs," 21 Jan. 2020 Thirteen people and thousands of koalas have died in wildfires over the past three months. The Christian Science Monitor, "The ever-fresh promise of God’s goodness," 31 Dec. 2019 Images shared of koalas drinking water after being rescued from the wildfires have gone viral on social media in recent days. Washington Post, "Thousands of koalas feared dead in Australia wildfires," 28 Dec. 2019 Officials have feared that hundreds of koalas may have perished in the wildfires that have burned through prime habitat on Australia's east coast over the past two weeks. Fox News, "Koala rescued from flames of Australia wildfire, badly burned as blazes rage across country," 20 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'koala.' 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 koala

1802, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for koala

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

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Statistics for koala

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Koala.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/koala. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for koala



English Language Learners Definition of koala

: an Australian animal that has thick gray fur, large hairy ears, sharp claws for climbing, and no tail


ko·​ala | \ kō-ˈä-lə How to pronounce koala (audio) \

Kids Definition of koala

: a tailless Australian animal with thick fur and big hairy ears, sharp claws for climbing, and a pouch like the kangaroo's for carrying its young

More from Merriam-Webster on koala

Nglish: Translation of koala for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about koala

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