One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A marine mollusk that has a smooth, glossy, domed shell with a long narrow opening, typically brightly patterned and popular with collectors.
Genus Cypraea, family Cypraeidae, class Gastropoda: numerous species, including the small money cowrie (C. moneta)
- ‘There are mushroom and staghorn corals, tiger cowries and batfish.’
- ‘Here butterfish can be seen feeding on mussels, and cowries are also in evidence.’
- ‘According to this article, the cowries are called ‘Elegba's shells,’ and are distinct from Ifa's palm nuts.’
- ‘There are numerous varieties of shrimps, juvenile morays, and a collection of shells including tiger cowries.’
- ‘We found tiny cowries on the soft corals and red spider crabs on the fans.’
- ‘‘That's a mouse cowry,’ the doctor said. ‘A lovely find.’’
- ‘There were giant leopard cowries nestled in between coral heads.’
- ‘These include Vasum, some photine buccinids, and some cypraeid cowries.’
- ‘In addition to coconut shells, one can use cowries or other ocean shells, and even gunpowder.’
- ‘I played lookout for my shutter-happy dive buddy, spotting cowries and posing with batfish as I did my safety stop.’
- 1.1 The flattened yellowish shell of the money cowrie, formerly used as money in parts of Africa and the Indo-Pacific area.
- ‘Almost all of the RAC's cowries went to the Slave Coast, with few arriving at any other destination.’
- ‘Archaeologists also found a profusion of cowries and roughly 800 large bronze relics.’
- ‘The article explains how cowries were exchanged for slaves and how East African gold entered Indian Ocean circuits.’
- ‘Jabali said, ‘I don't have a single cowrie - and even if I had I wouldn't give it.‘’
Mid 17th century: from Hindi kauṛī.
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