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
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: 1802
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
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