cobra

noun
co·bra | \ ˈkō-brə \

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

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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.

Examples of cobra in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Even though cobras will eat anything, ranging from other snakes to birds or large rodents, apparently eight eggs was a bit too much for this gluttonous serpent. Fox News, "WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGES: Greedy snake tries to eat 8 chicken eggs at once, fails miserably," 13 Apr. 2018 After a few weeks, Calmette extracted the horse blood and spun out antibodies that targeted cobra venom. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "A Rattle with Death in Yosemite," 20 June 2018 An 8-foot cobra was found inside a toilet in an apartment in Pretoria, South Africa. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "When a 6-foot snake slithered out of his toilet, dad knocked son over running away, he says," 12 June 2018 The pose requires focus and flexibility, but not the pliability of a cobra. New York Times, "Corrections: June 19, 2018," 19 June 2018 The wrangler seemed to catch the cobra but the snake managed to get away. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "When a 6-foot snake slithered out of his toilet, dad knocked son over running away, he says," 12 June 2018 Could Bourdain top rotting shark guts in Iceland, with roasted sheep testicals in Morroco, with a still-beating cobra heart in Vietnam? Alexis Sobel Fitts, WIRED, "Without Anthony Bourdain, Food Instagram Culture Wouldn't Exist," 8 June 2018 The materials can be ingenious—in one scene a cobra covered in gorgeous green beads slithers by, and during one bucolic stroll, stalks of wheat in soft focus intervene between us and the characters. J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Animator Jiří Trnka created magical worlds amid stifling communist censorship," 31 May 2018 The wrangler seemed to catch the cobra but the snake managed to get away. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Serial toilet clogger cost city thousands. But a tip just flushed him out, police say," 30 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of cobra

1802, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cobra

Portuguese cobra (de capello), literally, hooded snake, from Latin colubra snake

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Statistics for cobra

Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cobra

The first known use of cobra was in 1802

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More Definitions for cobra

cobra

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cobra

: a very poisonous snake found in Asia and Africa

cobra

noun
co·bra | \ ˈkō-brə \

Kids Definition of cobra

: a very poisonous snake of Asia and Africa that puffs out the skin around its neck into a hood when threatened

cobra

noun
co·bra | \ ˈkō-brə \

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

2 : either of two African snakes that spit their venom from a distance:

a : black-necked cobra

b : ringhals

3 : mamba

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COBRA

abbreviation
\ ˈkō-brə \

Legal Definition of COBRA 

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 — see also Employee Retirement Income Security Act

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