Word of the Day


© Getty Images
Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


an Australian animal with grey fur, large ears, and no tail

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun koala comes from Dharug, an Australian Aboriginal language, and was first used in English in the early 19th century.


The bush fires currently ravaging parts of Australia have taken a terrible toll on the country’s unique fauna, as well as on its human inhabitants. Slow-moving and solitary, koalas inhabit eucalyptus woodlands and feed mainly on the leaves of these trees. Koalas are sometimes incorrectly called koala bears, although they are not bears but the sole survivors of a family of marsupials related to wombats. You can find more entries about the animals of Australasia, some of them illustrated by photos, in the relevant Macmillan Thesaurus entry.


“My favourite animal is the koala, but his life would be boring.”
(Caterina Murino, actress)

Related words

echidna, kangaroo, wombat

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

Leave a Comment