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kookaburra

[koo k-uh-bur-uh, -buhr-uh]
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noun
  1. an Australian kingfisher, Dacelo gigas, having a loud, harsh cry that resembles laughter.

Origin of kookaburra

First recorded in 1885–90, kookaburra is from the Wiradjuri word gugubarra (imitative)
Also called laughing jackass.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for kookaburra

Historical Examples

  • The kookaburra is about the size of an owl, of a mottled grey colour.

    Peeps At Many Lands: Australia

    Frank Fox

  • 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

kookaburra

noun
  1. Also called: laughing jackass a large arboreal Australian kingfisher, Dacelo novaeguineae (or gigas), with a cackling cry
  2. 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

Word Origin and History for kookaburra

n.

1890, from a native Australian word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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