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
Recent Examples of koala from the Web
Zoo spokeswoman Nancy Chan said they were mystified as to the motive for the apparent theft because, while certain rare reptiles have been the target of animal traffickers, there is no known market for koalas.
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.
Origin and Etymology of koala
Dharuk (Australian aboriginal language of the Port Jackson area) gula, gulawanʸ
First Known Use: 1802
KOALA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of koala for English Language Learners
: an Australian animal that has thick gray fur, large hairy ears, sharp claws for climbing, and no tail
KOALA Defined for Kids
Definition of koala for Students
: 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
History for koala
The word koala was taken from a language called Dharuk, spoken by the native Australian people who lived around what is today Sydney, Australia, when the first Europeans landed there in 1788. The word was first written koolah, which was probably closer to the way it was pronounced in Dharuk. The spelling koala—which came to be read as three syllables rather than two—may originally have been someone's misspelling of the word.
Seen and Heard
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