COBOL is an acronym for Common Business Oriented Language and was developed in the late 1950s by Grace Hopper for the purpose of writing business-related programs, which she felt should be written in English. However, it seems rather that the language was developed with the express purpose of avoiding all mathematical-like notation, with the inevitable consequence that conciseness and readability is also avoided.
At any rate, I could only bring myself to code a COBOL sample program that adds two numbers:
* COBOL PROGRAM TO ADD TWO NUMBERS IDENTIFICATION DIVISION. PROGRAM-ID.ADD02. ENVIRONMENT DIVISION. DATA DIVISION. WORKING-STORAGE SECTION. 01 FIRST-NUMBERPIC IS 99. 01 SECOND-NUMBERPIC IS 99. 01 SUM PIC IS 999. PROCEDURE DIVISION. PROGRAM-BEGIN. DISPLAY "ENTER FIRST NUMBER ". ACCEPT FIRST-NUMBER. DISPLAY "ENTER SECOND NUMBER ". ACCEPT SECOND-NUMBER. COMPUTE SUM = FIRST-NUMBER + SECOND-NUMBER DISPLAY "THE SUM IS: " SUM. PROGRAM-DONE. STOP RUN.
In BASIC, the preceding program would be:
INPUT "Enter first number: ", n1 INPUT "Enter second number: ", n2 PRINT "The sum is: ", n1 + n2
This clearly points out the extreme verbosity of COBOL.