1[as modifier] ‘dentalium shells are ideal for use with beadwork’another term for tooth shell
- 1.1historical 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’[mass noun] ‘a white mare purchased with dentalium’
- ‘At first, only dentalia shells were placed as bets.’
- ‘Dentalia were very important to the Yurok as wealth items.’
- ‘One basic unit of currency was dentalia: tubular, tusk-shaped shells, often scrimshawed or intricately wrapped in black and red snakeskin.’
- ‘Historical accounts list the value of slaves in dentalia, or tooth shells.’
- 1.1historical Tooth shells used as currency, especially by some American Indian peoples.
Modern Latin, from late Latin dentalis (see dental).