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cowrie

or cow·ry

[ kou-ree ]

noun

, plural cow·ries.
  1. the highly polished, usually brightly colored shell of a marine gastropod of the genus Cypraea, as that of C. moneta money cowrie, used as money in certain parts of Asia and Africa, or that of C. tigris, used for ornament.
  2. the gastropod itself.


cowrie

/ ˈkaʊrɪ /

noun

  1. any marine gastropod mollusc of the mostly tropical family Cypraeidae, having a glossy brightly marked shell with an elongated opening
  2. the shell of any of these molluscs, esp the shell of Cypraea moneta ( money cowry ), used as money in parts of Africa and S Asia


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Word History and Origins

Origin of cowrie1

First recorded in 1655–65; from Hindi, Urdu kauṛī, kauḍī, from Sanskrit kapardikā, diminutive of kaparda-, of Dravidian origin; compare Tamil kavaṭi, kotu “shell, cowrie”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of cowrie1

C17: from Hindi kaurī, from Sanskrit kaparda, of Dravidian origin; related to Tamil kōtu shell

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Example Sentences

Cowries are my material of choice because they are tied to my story.

They are no wiser than the savages, who hide and hoard their little heaps of cowrie-shells.

In either half five or six holes were scooped out, and the game consisted in dropping cowrie shells or pebbles into the holes.

The folly of the gambling savage, who stakes his liberty against a handful of cowrie shells is nothing to it.

Their leathern collars are covered with cowrie shells sewn on them in various fantastic patterns.

A garter of white cowrie shells encircled one leg just below the knee.

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