Definition of kangaroo in English:



  • A large plant-eating marsupial with a long powerful tail and strongly developed hindlimbs that enable it to travel by leaping, found only in Australia and New Guinea.

    • ‘Australia did produce some giant forms such as giant kangaroos, which are now extinct.’
    • ‘The jaguar is as much a symbol of Belize as the kangaroo is of Australia.’
    • ‘Even in rural Australia, however, kangaroos may have been less plentiful in the face of systematic destruction by pastoralists.’
    • ‘In the wild, its main food supply consists of small wallabies and kangaroos, birds, lizards and probably frogs and crayfish.’
    • ‘It is a fact that we are cousins of gorillas, kangaroos, starfish, and bacteria.’
    • ‘He is not even sure of what distinguishes a large wallaby from a small kangaroo.’
    • ‘It enables such animals as kangaroos to run faster than their muscles alone can take them.’
    • ‘However, there are no fossils of animals which appear to be intermediate between possums and kangaroos.’
    • ‘Several of the early timber splitters regularly hunted kangaroos or possums to solve this problem.’
    • ‘This laconic roller of his own cigarettes was an authority on Australian marsupials, especially the kangaroos.’
    • ‘The village itself was a bit of a tourist trap but we did get to see some crocs, cuddle a koala, feed some kangaroos, get bitten by a parrot.’
    • ‘The forelimbs are smaller than the hindlimbs, but the disparity in size is not as great as in kangaroos and wallabies.’
    • ‘I was surrounded by at least a dozen baby kangaroos, wallabies, or koalas all my life.’
    • ‘Others later compared it to the sound of a kangaroo, or marsupials such as quolls.’
    • ‘Officials ask how Australia and the United States would take to being told they couldn't hunt kangaroos or deer.’
    • ‘Thousands of years ago, there were giant kangaroos, huge wombats and six-metre long goannas.’
    • ‘This year's Olympic Games turned the world's eye to the country of koalas and kangaroos.’
    • ‘This group includes all of the pouched animals, such as oppossums, kangaroos, and Tasmanian devils.’
    • ‘I had expected to find kangaroos, platypus and the various other marsupials.’
    • ‘Scientists have already developed working contraceptives for kangaroos.’


  • have kangaroos in the (or one's) top paddock

    • informal Be mad or eccentric.

      • ‘If you were invited to a barbie in the arvo by a guy who had kangaroos in his top paddock, in what country would you be enjoying your afternoon barbecue with your crazy host?’
      • ‘Caressa will continue to collect kangaroos even if people think she's got kangaroos in the top paddock!’
      • ‘If we think the citizens and governments of India and China will forego wealth and a higher standard of living for the good of the world, then we have kangaroos in the top paddock.’
      insane, mentally ill, certifiable, deranged, demented, of unsound mind, out of one's mind, not in one's right mind, sick in the head, not together, crazy, crazed, lunatic, non compos mentis, unbalanced, unhinged, unstable, disturbed, distracted, stark mad, manic, frenzied, raving, distraught, frantic, hysterical, delirious, psychotic, psychopathic, mad as a hatter, mad as a march hare, away with the fairies, foaming at the mouth
      View synonyms


Late 18th century: the name of a specific kind of kangaroo in an extinct Aboriginal language of North Queensland.