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[koo k-uh-bur-uh, -buhr-uh] /ˈkʊk əˌbɜr ə, -ˌbʌr ə/
an Australian kingfisher, Dacelo gigas, having a loud, harsh cry that resembles laughter.
Also called laughing jackass.
Origin of kookaburra
First recorded in 1885-90, kookaburra is from the Wiradjuri word gugubarra (imitative) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kookaburra
Historical Examples
  • The kookaburra is about the size of an owl, of a mottled grey colour.

  • To start off with, they had an unpleasant scene with a kookaburra, a low larrikin who resented the way that Bill examined him.

    The Magic Pudding Norman Lindsay
  • The kookaburra seems to find much grim fun in this world, and is always disturbing the Bush quiet with its curious “laughter.”

British Dictionary definitions for kookaburra


Also called laughing jackass. a large arboreal Australian kingfisher, Dacelo novaeguineae (or gigas), with a cackling cry
Also called blue-winged kookaburra. a related smaller bird D. Leachii, of tropical Australia and New Guinea
Word Origin
C19: from a native Australian language
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 kookaburra

1890, from a native Australian word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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