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[koh-bruh] /ˈkoʊ brə/
any of several highly venomous, Old World elapid snakes of the genera Naja and Ophiophagus, characterized by the ability to flatten the neck into a hoodlike form when disturbed.
any of several similar, related African snakes, as the ringhals.
leather made from the skin of a cobra.
(initial capital letter) Military. a single-engine, two-seat U.S. Army attack helicopter armed with missiles, rockets, and a 20mm cannon and in service since 1977.
Origin of cobra1
First recorded in 1810-20; short for cobra de capello


[koh-bruh, kob-ruh] /ˈkoʊ brə, ˈkɒb rə/
noun, Australian.
head; skull.
First recorded in 1825-35, cobra is from the Dharuk word gabarā Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cobra
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The cobra haje of Egypt, the most deadly reptile in that country, whose figure was worn as the head-dress of kings and queens.

    The New York Obelisk Charles E. Moldenke
  • Finally the tiger and the monkey came to a cobra lying in the path.

    Fairy Tales from Brazil Elsie Spicer Eells
  • America is the country of the rattlesnake; Africa, of the cerastes; and Asia, of the hooded snake, or cobra di capello.

    Principles of Geology Charles Lyell
  • But it is the cobra which is really an unpleasant creature to have any dealings with.

    India and the Indians Edward F. Elwin
  • For out of each ruin reared the hooded head of a cobra, and one struck at her bare leg.

    Shadows in Zamboula Robert E. Howard
  • But the cobra, if cornered, shows fight and becomes formidable.

    India and the Indians Edward F. Elwin
  • The cobra stood erect over him, hissing and putting out his tongue as if conscious of victory.

British Dictionary definitions for cobra


any highly venomous elapid snake of the genus Naja, such as N. naja (Indian cobra), of tropical Africa and Asia. When alarmed they spread the skin of the neck region into a hood
any related snake, such as the king cobra
Word Origin
C19: from Portuguese cobra (de capello) snake (with a hood), from Latin colubra snake


noun acronym
(in the UK) Cabinet Office Briefing Room A: the civil contingencies committee that leads the UK's responses to crises such as terrorist attacks and epidemics
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cobra

1802, short for cobra capello (1670s), from Portuguese cobra de capello "serpent (of the hood)," from Latin colubra "a snake, female serpent" (source of French couleuvre "adder"), of uncertain origin. So called for the expandable loose skin about its neck. The word came to English via Portuguese colonies in India, where the native name is nag (see naga).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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