Definition of koala in English:



  • A bearlike arboreal Australian marsupial that has thick grey fur and feeds on eucalyptus leaves.

    Phascolarctos cinereus, the only member of the family Phascolarctidae

    Also called native bear in Australia
    • ‘Certainly sloths in South America and koalas in Austrailia wouldn't have survived the trip?’
    • ‘This year's Olympic Games turned the world's eye to the country of koalas and kangaroos.’
    • ‘Thousands of animals, including kangaroos, koalas, wombats and reptiles, are dead.’
    • ‘I was surrounded by at least a dozen baby kangaroos, wallabies, or koalas all my life.’
    • ‘One approach worthy of serious consideration would be to charge a fee for visitors to Kangaroo Island to hunt koalas.’
    • ‘Wildlife officials estimate thousands of native animals, including koalas, have been killed or injured in the fires.’
    • ‘In Sydney, ice sculptures of kangaroos and koalas melted during a protest by green groups over Australia's refusal to ratify the pact.’
    • ‘For weeks now Friends of the Koalas has been responding to numerous calls regarding koalas in potentially dangerous locations.’
    • ‘Like their koala cousins, wombats have a hardened layer over the muscles of their rump; a very hardened layer.’
    • ‘Further, koalas have an unusually low metabolic rate, which also reduces their need for food.’
    • ‘The leaflet includes hints on how to find koalas, directions to the Koala Care and Research Centre, and how to contact Friends of the Koala.’
    • ‘Well the koala is an Australian icon when it comes to tourism.’
    • ‘Dale is from Australia and captivated his audience with stories of crocodiles and koalas.’
    • ‘Bush fires are terrorising Australia's cuddly national icon, the koala.’
    • ‘In 1997 I participated in a study of the contribution of koalas to the Australian tourism industry.’
    • ‘Thousands of animals were killed, including tigers, lions, elephants, camels, and koalas.’
    • ‘Female koalas give birth to a single offspring every two years.’
    • ‘Becky fulfilled another ambition to cuddle a koala at Australia Zoo, home of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin.’
    • ‘Amateur fossil hunters have helped to uncover the oldest known ancestor to kangaroos, koalas, possums, and wombats.’
    • ‘More than 20 Eucalyptus species provide sustenance for koalas, but in any given region, the marsupials eat only a few species.’


In non-technical contexts koala bear (as opposed to koala) is widely used. Zoologists, however, regard this form as incorrect on the grounds that, despite appearances, koalas are completely unrelated to bears


Early 19th century: from Dharuk.