[ koh-bawl ]
/ ˈkoʊ bɔl /

noun Computers.

a programming language particularly suited for writing programs to process large files of data, using a vocabulary of common English words, phrases, and sentences.

Origin of COBOL

1955–60; co(mmon) b(usiness)-o(riented) l(anguage) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cobol



/ (ˈkəʊˌbɒl) /


a high-level computer programming language designed for general commercial use

Word Origin for COBOL

C20: co (mmon) b (usiness) o (riented) l (anguage)

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

Word Origin and History for cobol



1960, U.S. Defense Department acronym, from "Common Business-Oriented Language."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for cobol


[ kōbôl′ ]

A programming language developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s and used especially for business applications. It is closer to English than many other high-level languages, making it easier to learn.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.