king cobra


: a large cobra (Ophiophagus hannah synonym Naja hannah) of southeastern Asia and the Philippines that may attain a length of 18 feet (5.5 meters)

Illustration of king cobra

Illustration of king cobra

Examples of king cobra in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Large and impressive Asian reptiles here include king cobras, Tomistoma crocodiles and reticulated pythons. Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 The world’s largest venomous snake is the king cobra — and while the royal court of snakes doesn’t include the existence of a queen cobra, Megan Thee Stallion is stepping into that role herself. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 27 Oct. 2023 Hermetically sealed in a Mulholland mansion with a herd of capybara and king cobras? Marc Weingarten, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2023 After the escape fiasco, Laita decided to photograph the king cobra in a plexiglass box to prevent another high speed chase. Breanna Draxler, Discover Magazine, 26 Feb. 2013 In a review to be published in the journal Bioessays, Freek Vonk of Leiden University (picture above with a king cobra) and his colleagues describe how venom is continuing to make its way into the clinic. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 11 Mar. 2011 When people think of deadly snakes, the king cobra is often the one that slithers to mind. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 19 May 2022 The odds that the average human being will spend any amount of time in their life within ten feet of a king cobra or a geographer's cone snail, let alone experience the venom of one, are slim. Christie Wilcox, Discover Magazine, 30 Apr. 2017 Only 15 patients exhibited severe symptoms, including a conservationist who had previously been bitten by an eastern green mamba and later died after being bitten by a king cobra. Monica Cull, Discover Magazine, 19 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'king cobra.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1887, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of king cobra was in 1887

Dictionary Entries Near king cobra

Cite this Entry

“King cobra.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

king cobra

: a large very poisonous snake of southeastern Asia and the Philippines

Medical Definition

king cobra

king co·​bra ˈkiŋ-ˈkō-brə How to pronounce king cobra (audio)
: a large and very venomous cobra of the genus Ophiophagus (O. hannah synonym Naja hannah) of southeastern Asia and the Philippines that may attain a length of 18 feet (5.5 meters)

called also hamadryad

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