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[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.
Also called laughing jackass.
Origin of kookaburra
1885-90; < Wiradjuri gugubarra (imitative) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for kookaburra
Historical Examples
  • The kookaburra seems to find much grim fun in this world, and is always disturbing the Bush quiet with its curious “laughter.”

  • 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 is about the size of an owl, of a mottled grey colour.

British Dictionary definitions for kookaburra


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
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
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Word Origin and History for kookaburra

1890, from a native Australian word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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