One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A genus of gastropod molluscs related to the cowries (family Ovulidae), native especially to the tropical Pacific Ocean, some species of which have a pure white oval shell; (also ovula) a member of this genus. Chiefly attributive in "ovula shell".
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. From scientific Latin Ovula, genus name from post-classical Latin ovulum.
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