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[too-kan, -kahn, too-kahn] /ˈtu kæn, -kɑn, tuˈkɑn/
any of several usually brightly colored, fruit-eating birds of the family Ramphastidae, of tropical America, having a very large bill.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Tucana.
Origin of toucan
1550-60; < French < Portuguese tucano < Tupi tucan (imitative of its cry) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for toucan
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Historical Examples
  • I say, Nealie, what does the toucan want to have92 such a long bill for?

    The Adventurous Seven

    Bessie Marchant
  • It would have been almost as easy for a toucan to display joy, grief, or surprise.

    The Shrieking Pit Arthur J. Rees
  • The toucan (Ramphastos) belongs to the genus of scansorial birds.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • If a toucan be yelping in the neighbourhood, he drops it, and imitates him.

    Wanderings in South America Charles Waterton
  • It is to these trees that the largest sort of toucan resorts.

    Wanderings in South America Charles Waterton
  • A striking feature of the great Himalayan barbet is its massive yellow bill, which is as large as that of some species of toucan.

  • Their long hair hangs down over the shoulders, and round their necks a toucan beak or a bunch of feathers is worn as an ornament.

  • To be sure, the toucan might retort, To what purpose were gentlemen in Bond Street created?

    Hours in a Library Leslie Stephen
  • Over thirty species of that peculiar bird, the toucan, have been secured here.

    Equatorial America Maturin M. Ballou
British Dictionary definitions for toucan


any tropical American arboreal fruit-eating bird of the family Ramphastidae, having a large brightly coloured bill with serrated edges and a bright plumage
Word Origin
C16: from French, from Portuguese tucano, from Tupi tucana, probably imitative of its cry
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 toucan

bright-colored bird of S.America, 1560s, from French toucan (1550s) and Spanish tucan; from Tupi (Brazil) tuka, tukana, probably imitative of its call.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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