Definition of cowrie in US 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.

    Genus Cypraea, family Cypraeidae, class Gastropoda: numerous species, including the small money cowrie (C. moneta)

    • ‘There are numerous varieties of shrimps, juvenile morays, and a collection of shells including tiger cowries.’
    • ‘There are mushroom and staghorn corals, tiger cowries and batfish.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Here butterfish can be seen feeding on mussels, and cowries are also in evidence.’
    • ‘I played lookout for my shutter-happy dive buddy, spotting cowries and posing with batfish as I did my safety stop.’
    • ‘‘That's a mouse cowry,’ the doctor said. ‘A lovely find.’’
    • ‘These include Vasum, some photine buccinids, and some cypraeid cowries.’
    • ‘There were giant leopard cowries nestled in between coral heads.’
    • ‘We found tiny cowries on the soft corals and red spider crabs on the fans.’
    1. 1.1 The flattened yellowish shell of the money cowrie, formerly used as money in parts of Africa and the Indo-Pacific area.
      • ‘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.‘’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: from Hindi kauṛī.

Pronunciation

cowrie

/ˈkaʊri//ˈkourē/