Definition of uraeus in English:


nounPlural uraei

  • A representation of a sacred serpent as an emblem of supreme power, worn on the headdresses of ancient Egyptian deities and sovereigns.

    • ‘On the forehead of the mask are a royal uraeus and a vulture's head, symbols of the two tutelary deities of Lower and Upper Egypt: Wadjet and Nekhbet.’
    • ‘Astarte recognized the uraeus, the vulture of Upper Egypt, and knowing the stranger at her door was Auset, bade the servant to make her welcome.’
    • ‘This was the species represented in the Egyptian symbol of royalty, the uraeus, and is the one still employed by snake charmers throughout North Africa.’
    • ‘Given her identification with it, and her wearing of the uraeus as royal insignia, it is possible to imagine Cleopatra taking it into her last embrace.’


Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek ouraios, representing the Egyptian word for ‘cobra’.