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 More than 40 koalas have been killed, with investigators on the scene noting that the number could rise as felled timber is still being cleared. Mélissa Godin, Time, "'Australia Should Be Ashamed' After More Than 40 Koalas Killed on Logging Site," 4 Feb. 2020 Only weeks ago, koalas were considered pests on the island, devouring vegetation meant for native animals. Jamie Tarabay, New York Times, "There’s No Place Like Kangaroo Island. Can It Survive Australia’s Fires?," 4 Feb. 2020 At The Green Lantern, a customer can sip a Koala Cocktail, a $12 drink in which half of the proceeds are earmarked to aid an Australian koala sanctuary. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "The world is ever more sober, nonalcoholic in Dry January, and bars in San Antonio are feeling the pinch," 25 Jan. 2020 However, since word of his cute creations has gotten out, Owen's koalas have raised more than $100,000! Aj Willingham, CNN, "Crafty koalas for Australia, a green puppy and the most creative proposal ever," 18 Jan. 2020 Many Australian koalas are fleeing for their lives. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "SF Zoo’s new koala needs a name. Contest will raise money for his relatives Down Under," 17 Jan. 2020 Such periodic, relatively mild fires allow many animals to escape: Birds fly away and koalas shimmy farther up trees as fire burns the ground vegetation below. Matt Simon, Wired, "Wildfires Are Obliterating Australia's Iconic Ecosystems," 8 Jan. 2020 The virus has left koalas susceptible to infections and types of cancer. Andrew Joseph, Scientific American, "What a Koala Virus Tells Us about the Human Genome," 14 Oct. 2019 The fires have killed more than 13,000 head of livestock in New South Wales, which includes Sydney, and are threatening the country’s unique wildlife—from koalas to native birds to bees. Mike Cherney, WSJ, "Australia Rain Forecast Brings Hope of Fire Relief—and Threat to Water Supply," 15 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for koala

Time Traveler

The first known use of koala was in 1802

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Statistics for koala

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Koala.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/koala. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for koala


How to pronounce koala (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on koala

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with koala

Spanish Central: Translation of koala

Nglish: Translation of koala for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about koala

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