One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1as modifier ‘dentalium shells are ideal for use with beadwork’another term for tooth shell
- ‘By the Cretaceous, fossils with well-defined longitudinal ridges appear, as in modern species of Dentalium and its close relatives (Family Dentaliidae).’
- ‘In 1868 the Teton Dakota (Oglala and Brule) wore similar breastplates of dentalium shells.’
- ‘In latter times beadwork was often substituted for quillwork and dentalium shells were often used.’
- ‘Probably the failure of this ornament to gain acceptance among the Dakota tribes was due to their preference for and quite common use of a very similar choker of dentalium shells.’
- 1.1usually dentaliahistorical Tooth shells used as currency, especially by some American Indian peoples.‘he gave them handfuls of dentalia, for which his father-in-law and his brothers-in-law gave him slaves and valuable furs’‘a white mare purchased with dentalium’
- ‘One basic unit of currency was dentalia: tubular, tusk-shaped shells, often scrimshawed or intricately wrapped in black and red snakeskin.’
- ‘Dentalia were very important to the Yurok as wealth items.’
- ‘Historical accounts list the value of slaves in dentalia, or tooth shells.’
- ‘At first, only dentalia shells were placed as bets.’
Modern Latin, from late Latin dentalis (see dental).
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