Definition of manilla in English:



  • (in West Africa) a metal bracelet traditionally used as a medium of exchange.

    • ‘The iron manillas were found at a depth of 160 centimeters in association with fragments of an iron chain, while the copper ones were recovered at depths ranging from 120 centimeters up to the surface.’
    • ‘The demonetization of cowries or manillas provoked strong protest from people whose savings were in these forms, to such a degree, indeed, that the British were eventually forced to offer conversion facilities.’
    • ‘In Benin the value deteriorated so much that in the 18th century no manillas could be sold there.’
    • ‘The Akan melted the manillas down and recast them into objects for their own use.’
    • ‘The copper from these manillas brought to Africa from Europe was often melted down and remade into other metal objects.’
    • ‘The natives used to bury these bronze manillas and after being in the ground for quite a long time they would quickly burnish up again.’
    • ‘In West Africa, people exchanged manillas as currency from the late 15th to the early 20th century.’
    • ‘African money bracelets are variously referred to as manillas, bracelets, rings, bangles, etc.’
    • ‘An early form of currency in West Africa, brass manillas or ‘bracelets’ like these would have been exchanged for slaves, with a King manilla being worth one slave.’
    • ‘Small manillas would often be amassed and then taken to the blacksmith to be melted and re-formed into a larger size.’
    • ‘We know that manillas were first imported into the delta around 1450 A.D.’


Mid 16th century: from Spanish, based on Latin manicula (see manacle).