Definition of koala in English:



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

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


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.