a sluggish, tailless, gray, furry, arboreal marsupial, Phascolarctos cinereus, of Australia.

1800–10; erroneous spelling for earlier koola(h) (now obsolete) < Dharuk gú-la

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World English Dictionary
koala or koala bear (kəʊˈɑːlə)
Also called (Austral): native bear a slow-moving Australian arboreal marsupial, Phascolarctus cinereus, having dense greyish fur and feeding on eucalyptus leaves and bark
[from a native Australian language]
koala bear or koala bear
[from a native Australian language]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1808, from the Aboriginal name of the animal, variously given as koola, kulla, kula.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The new grizzly exhibit and koala bears would have to do.
The koala makes a sound that should require a bison-size body.
Or a koala that climbed up a four-poster bed surprising a seventeen-year-old in
  her nightie.
She kept scrapbooks filled with images of pandas and koala bears.
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