[koo k-uh-bur-uh, -buhr-uh]
- 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
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
The kookaburra seems to find much grim fun in this world, and is always disturbing the Bush quiet with its curious “laughter.”
- 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
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
1890, from a native Australian word.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper