One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A cowrie, Cypraea arabica, whose shell is streaked and mottled with brown, found widely in the Indo-Pacific region; the shell of this.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in George Shaw (1751–1813), natural historian. After scientific Latin Cypraea arabica (Linnaeus Systema naturae (ed. 10, 1758) I. 718).
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