Definition of wallaby in English:



  • 1An Australasian marsupial that is similar to, but smaller than, a kangaroo.

    • ‘The mammals the researchers studied were the platypus, echidna, opossum, wallaby, hedgehog, mouse, rat, rabbit, cow, pig, bat, tree shrew, colugo, ringtail lemur, and humans.’
    • ‘The potoroids are a family of diprotodont marsupials believed to be closely allied with the kangaroos and wallabies and sometimes grouped as a subfamily within that family.’
    • ‘At Cohunu Wildlife Park in Kelmscott you can wander right among the kangaroos and wallabies.’
    • ‘Call it what you will, the Tasmanian Tiger still has more in common with its Australian marsupial cousins, such as kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas, than with actual tigers, wolves, or hyenas.’
    • ‘Outdoors I came over all goofy while hand-feeding wallabies and kangaroos.’
    • ‘It is also my first chance to see the wonderfully unique wildlife here; kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, pademelons, possums, and various unique birds.’
    • ‘For many years the island's white beaches were stained with the blood of tens of thousands of whales, seals, kangaroos, wallabies and possums.’
    • ‘In the wild, its main food supply consists of small wallabies and kangaroos, birds, lizards and probably frogs and crayfish.’
    • ‘And all these animals lived there-big glider possums, pygmy possums, koalas, kangaroos and wallabies, wombats, platypus, just everything in the trees, on the ground and in the creeks.’
    • ‘This episode deals with the different types of animals featured in the outback, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and other fuzzy, cute animals running around Australia.’
    • ‘Around us, free-ranging mobs of Forester kangaroos and Bennett's wallabies roam between the various animal pens.’
    • ‘Other animals to be included in the Night Safari project include 40 from Australia, including kangaroos, koalas and wallabies, as well as 1,700 animals from Thailand's own national parks.’
    • ‘We've had a lot of problems with kangaroos and wallabies, but we're working towards that now.’
    • ‘After seeing a fox, wallabies thumped their hind feet in alarm, suppressed foraging, and increased looking.’
    • ‘At dusk pademelons and wallabies come out while sugar gliders float through the forest canopy.’
    • ‘So the extension of the term ‘marsupial’ is the set of all marsupials: kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and so on.’
    • ‘When I was a child I can remember I had kangaroo rats, wallabies, wallaroos, brush wallabies, all different marsupials as pets, and they were really very, very interesting.’
    • ‘We still got an opossum, a red kangaroo, a Bennett wallaby, too, and millipedes, and a kookaburra, whatever that is.’
    • ‘Famous for its unusual cuisine, the Red Ochre Grill in Alice Springs specialises in Australian delicacies such as kangaroo, wallaby, emu, camel, crocodile, barramundi and yabbies.’
    • ‘So the cassowaries, kookaburras, koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles and wallabies that one goes to Australia in the hope of seeing are all there.’
    1. 1.1informal The Australian international rugby union team.
      • ‘Wallabies fly-half Stephen Larkham has claimed Argentina will do "whatever it takes" to win the game on 10 October.’


  • on the wallaby (track)

    • dated, informal (of a person) unemployed and having no fixed address.

      ‘during the Depression thousands of Australians went on the wallaby’
      • ‘That's the way to get this country back on its feet - by getting the poor back on their knees. Or on the wallaby.’
      • ‘Not-working the river is a grand, unacknowledged tradition: from those carrying their swag on the wallaby with a Wagga blanket to these days of stashed polyester on corrugated Amcor or Visyboard.’
      • ‘This would encourage them to get on the wallaby when they will surely find a job.’
      • ‘Swagmen and swagwomen tramped the country roads alone or in pairs in search of seasonal work, a situation referred to as ‘on the wallaby’.’
      • ‘With the world rushing towards the Great Depression many old Diggers found themselves out of work, out of luck and out on the wallaby track.’
      destitute, poverty-stricken, impoverished, indigent, penniless, insolvent, impecunious, ruined, pauperized, without a penny to one's name, without two farthings to rub together, without two pennies to rub together
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Early 19th century: from Dharuk walabi or waliba.