- See under cowrie.
Origin of money cowrie
First recorded in 1830–40
- 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.
- the gastropod itself.
Origin of cowrie
First recorded in 1655–65, cowrie is from the Hindi word kaurī
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- any marine gastropod mollusc of the mostly tropical family Cypraeidae, having a glossy brightly marked shell with an elongated opening
- 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
C17: from Hindi kaurī, from Sanskrit kaparda, of Dravidian origin; related to Tamil kōtu shell
Word Origin and History for money cowrie
small shell, used as money in parts of Asia, 1660s, from Hindi and Urdu kauri, from Mahrati kavadi, from Sanskrit kaparda, perhaps related to Tamil kotu "shell."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper