cockatoo

[ kok-uh-too, kok-uh-too ]
/ ˈkɒk əˌtu, ˌkɒk əˈtu /
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noun, plural cock·a·toos.

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.
Australian.
  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

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for cockatoo

cockatoo

/ (ˌkɒkəˈtuː, ˈkɒkəˌtuː) /

noun plural -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
Australian and NZ a small farmer or settler
Australian informal a lookout during some illegal activity

Word Origin for cockatoo

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

Word Origin and History for cockatoo

cockatoo


n.

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