Definition of cowrie in English:

cowrie

(also cowry)

noun

  • 1A marine mollusk that has a smooth, glossy, domed shell with a long narrow opening, typically brightly patterned and popular with collectors.

    • ‘We found tiny cowries on the soft corals and red spider crabs on the fans.’
    • ‘There are mushroom and staghorn corals, tiger cowries and batfish.’
    • ‘There are numerous varieties of shrimps, juvenile morays, and a collection of shells including tiger cowries.’
    • ‘Here butterfish can be seen feeding on mussels, and cowries are also in evidence.’
    • ‘‘That's a mouse cowry,’ the doctor said. ‘A lovely find.’’
    • ‘According to this article, the cowries are called ‘Elegba's shells,’ and are distinct from Ifa's palm nuts.’
    • ‘In addition to coconut shells, one can use cowries or other ocean shells, and even gunpowder.’
    • ‘There were giant leopard cowries nestled in between coral heads.’
    • ‘I played lookout for my shutter-happy dive buddy, spotting cowries and posing with batfish as I did my safety stop.’
    • ‘These include Vasum, some photine buccinids, and some cypraeid cowries.’
    1. 1.1 The flattened yellowish shell of the money cowrie, formerly used as money in parts of Africa and the Indo-Pacific area.
      • ‘Archaeologists also found a profusion of cowries and roughly 800 large bronze relics.’
      • ‘Jabali said, ‘I don't have a single cowrie - and even if I had I wouldn't give it.‘’
      • ‘The article explains how cowries were exchanged for slaves and how East African gold entered Indian Ocean circuits.’
      • ‘Almost all of the RAC's cowries went to the Slave Coast, with few arriving at any other destination.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: from Hindi kauṛī.

Pronunciation

cowrie

/ˈkaʊri//ˈkourē/