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.

    • ‘We worry about our country, our billabongs, our creek beds, people who just want to go and fish, and they leave their mess.’
    • ‘This billabong is part of the Mary River in the Top End of the Northern Territory.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was walkabout land with food, a billabong.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The water level in the billabong was high, too high for fishing, said the old ladies.’
    • ‘The little fish were trapped in billabongs, which were drying out.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The bunyip lives in creeks, swamps, and billabongs and has a loud, bellowing cry.’
    • ‘Except for the tidally influenced channels, most creeks dry up, with a few pockets of water left in billabongs and permanent swamps.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was cleaning weeds out of billabongs up in the Northern Territory when he was a teenager.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Several years ago the Festival Committee planted a tree near the billabong on Stiggants Reserve as a thank-you to Lynne.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Up jumped the swagman, leapt into the billabong,’
    • ‘The billabong certainly sees some erudite visitors, many of them eager to suggest new names for Phillip (nee ‘Piggy’) Adams.’
    • ‘Enjoying the sun's warmth we followed a thin channel that splinters off the billabong.’
    brook, rivulet, rill, runnel, streamlet, freshet
    View synonyms


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