Definition of cobra
: any of several venomous Asian and African elapid snakes (genera Naja and Ophiophagus) that when excited expand the skin of the neck into a hood by movement of the anterior ribs; also : any of several related African snakes
Recent Examples of cobra from the Web
The Fish and Wildlife Service are in custody of the cobras and the geckos.
Though species like the boomslang or the king cobra are dangerous thanks to their respective poisons, the black mamba is especially deadly due to its speed.
Other warnings of defense include the snake lifting its head and nearly a third of its body off the ground, spreading its cobra-like neck flaps, and hissing.
Trump, of course, is a fool to embrace Putin, whose instincts are those of a cobra.
When the deceptively laid-back Hitch agrees, in his cobra fashion, to become Lenny’s manager, mayhem and bloodshed soon follow.
A stuffed cobra and an African drum are just some of the items in Dallof’s collection.
The Denver Zoo’s king cobra has been having a tough couple of months.
In this March 30, 2017, photo, Brian Hargrove, of Cutler Bay, Fla., pulls down his T-shirt to show a cobra tattooed on his chest while hunting invasive Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cobra.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
During the early part of the 16th century, Portuguese traders took control of cities along India's western coast. During this period of contact, the Portuguese became familiar with some of India's animal life. One animal they noticed was a poisonous snake that could expand the skin of its neck to form a hood. The Portuguese called this snake cobra de capello, meaning “snake with a hood.” The Portuguese name was first borrowed into English in the 17th century. By the 19th century the name had become shortened to cobra.
Origin and Etymology of cobra
Portuguese cobra (de capello), literally, hooded snake, from Latin colubra snake
First Known Use: 1802See Words from the same year
COBRA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cobra for English Language Learners
: a very poisonous snake found in Asia and Africa
COBRA Defined for Kids
Definition of cobra for Students
: a very poisonous snake of Asia and Africa that puffs out the skin around its neck into a hood when threatened
Medical Definition of cobra
1: any of several very venomous Asian and African elapid snakes of the genera Naja and Ophiophagus that when excited expand the skin of the neck into a broad hood by movement of the anterior ribs—see indian cobra, king cobra
Legal Definition of COBRA
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 — see also Employee Retirement Income Security Act
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up cobra? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).