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cobra1

[koh-bruh]
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noun
  1. 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.
  2. any of several similar, related African snakes, as the ringhals.
  3. leather made from the skin of a cobra.
  4. (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.
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Origin of cobra1

First recorded in 1810–20; short for cobra de capello

cobra2

[koh-bruh, kob-ruh]
noun Australian.
  1. head; skull.
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Origin of cobra2

First recorded in 1825–35, cobra is from the Dharuk word gabarā
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

cobrarattlesnakecopperheadaspadder

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British Dictionary definitions for cobra

cobra

noun
  1. 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
  2. any related snake, such as the king cobra
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Word Origin

C19: from Portuguese cobra (de capello) snake (with a hood), from Latin colubra snake

COBRA

n acronym for
  1. (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
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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 cobra

n.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper