Definition of billabong in English:



  • A branch of a river forming a backwater or stagnant pool, made by water flowing from the main stream during a flood.

    • ‘This billabong is part of the Mary River in the Top End of the Northern Territory.’
    • ‘He was cleaning weeds out of billabongs up in the Northern Territory when he was a teenager.’
    • ‘Except for the tidally influenced channels, most creeks dry up, with a few pockets of water left in billabongs and permanent swamps.’
    • ‘The bunyip lives in creeks, swamps, and billabongs and has a loud, bellowing cry.’
    • ‘Up jumped the swagman, leapt into the billabong,’
    • ‘They are the least known of any Australian turtle species as they lead secret lives in billabongs and river systems, far from the rest of the world.’
    • ‘It is waterfalls at midday, billabongs at burning dusk, galleries of rock art five times older than the Egyptian Pharaohs, and two million magpie geese - and crocodiles in the river any time you're silly enough to risk swimming.’
    • ‘We worry about our country, our billabongs, our creek beds, people who just want to go and fish, and they leave their mess.’
    • ‘The billabong certainly sees some erudite visitors, many of them eager to suggest new names for Phillip (nee ‘Piggy’) Adams.’
    • ‘There was walkabout land with food, a billabong.’
    • ‘Several years ago the Festival Committee planted a tree near the billabong on Stiggants Reserve as a thank-you to Lynne.’
    • ‘Enjoying the sun's warmth we followed a thin channel that splinters off the billabong.’
    • ‘Some 800 miles inland, they found a network of intermittent channels and permanent warm-water billabongs, which they christened Cooper's Creek, after a South Australian judge.’
    • ‘On the plains, the banks of rivers and billabongs were festooned with tall reeds and wild tangles of coolabah, swamp oak and river gum roots.’
    • ‘It was only later in the piece that the screaming started, when other tourists located the croc resting under some bushes in the middle of the resort - eyeing off the billabong nearby.’
    • ‘The rest of the station is mostly open grassland and light timber, liberally endowed with picturesque billabongs, and the other two rivers snaking their way through it all.’
    • ‘The water level in the billabong was high, too high for fishing, said the old ladies.’
    • ‘There are sometimes moments as the Professor lounges at ease by the billabong, the perfect picture of recumbent indolence, when his sylvan reveries are crushed by a sense of sudden and prophetic dread.’
    • ‘The little fish were trapped in billabongs, which were drying out.’
    • ‘For another, the low freeboard of a bass boat could be a lure of the wrong kind when fishing the rivers and billabongs of the Outback.’
    • ‘Surrounding paperbark swamps and billabongs, where much of the wildlife retreats when it gets really hot and the plains dry up, are just as bountiful.’
    brook, rivulet, rill, runnel, streamlet, freshet
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from Wiradhuri bilabang ‘channel that is dry except after rain’.