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[kok-uh-too, kok-uh-too] /ˈkɒk əˌtu, ˌkɒk əˈtu/
noun, plural cockatoos.
any of numerous large, noisy, crested parrots of the genera Cacatua, Callocephalon, Calyptorhynchus, etc., of the Australasian region, having chiefly white plumage tinged with yellow, pink, or red: popular as a pet.
  1. a person who owns and works a small farm or ranch.
  2. Slang. a lookout posted by criminals or the operators of illegal gambling games.
Origin of cockatoo
Central Moluccan
1610-20; < Dutch kaketoe < Malay kakatua, perhaps etymologizing alteration of Central Moluccan jaka any psittacine bird, by association with Malay kakak sibling, kakak tua older sibling); spelling copies cock1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cockatoo
Historical Examples
  • It is the only American parrot which resembles the cockatoo of Australia.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • This assertion may be proved by setting free a cockatoo in the plains of India.

  • And are you still longing for your freedom so much, cockatoo?

    The Cockatoo's Story Mrs. George Cupples
  • "I feel you are right there, Master Herbert," said the cockatoo.

    The Cockatoo's Story Mrs. George Cupples
  • "There is no need to be so angry, old lady," replied the cockatoo.

    The Cockatoo's Story Mrs. George Cupples
  • This communication he dispatched by cockatoo, who flew to get his bicycle.

    The Green Mummy Fergus Hume
  • "But she will come to-morrow," said he, as cockatoo filled three glasses.

    The Green Mummy Fergus Hume
  • cockatoo then returned by boat to the Gartley jetty and told his master.

    The Green Mummy Fergus Hume
  • cockatoo had come down stream with The Firefly, and in this way had not been discovered.

    The Green Mummy Fergus Hume
  • But cockatoo had hidden him well in the case, in the lid of which holes had been bored.

    The Green Mummy Fergus Hume
British Dictionary definitions for cockatoo


/ˌkɒkəˈtuː; ˈkɒkəˌtuː/
noun (pl) -toos
any of various parrots of the genus Kakatoe and related genera, such as K. galerita (sulphur-crested cockatoo), of Australia and New Guinea. They have an erectile crest and most of them are light-coloured
(Austral & NZ) a small farmer or settler
(Austral, informal) a lookout during some illegal activity
Word Origin
C17: from Dutch kaketoe, from Malay kakatua
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cockatoo

1610s, from Dutch kaketoe, from Malay kakatua, possibly echoic, or from kakak "elder brother or sister" + tua "old." Also cockatiel (1880), from Dutch diminutive kaketielje (1850), which is perhaps influenced by Portuguese. Spelling influenced by cock (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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