[ 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.

Words nearby kookaburra

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. 2020

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|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

/ (ˈkʊkəˌbʌrə) /


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 for kookaburra

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