• WordNet 3.6
    • n cowrie any of numerous tropical marine gastropods of the genus Cypraea having highly polished usually brightly marked shells
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Cowrie (Zoöl) A marine shell of the genus Cypræa.☞ There are numerous species, many of them ornamental. Formerly Cypræa moneta and several other species were largely used as money in Africa and some other countries, and they are still so used to some extent. The value is always trifling, and varies at different places.
    • n Cowrie (Bot) Same as Kauri.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n cowrie See cowry.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Cowrie kow′ri a large genus of Gasteropods, including over a hundred species, some of which are familiar as decorative objects, and as a medium of exchange with uncivilised peoples.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Hind. kaurī,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Hindi kaurī.


In literature:

For they were originally nothing more than personifications of the life-giving cowry amulets from the Red Sea.
"The Evolution of the Dragon" by G. Elliot Smith
The casket is supported by a pedestal of appropriate size and is decorated to represent cowries.
"The Journal of Negro History, Volume 6, 1921" by Various
The magic shell of all others is the cowrie.
"The Gypsies" by Charles G. Leland
The Stoltzfoos stake of silver and gold cowries was wasting away.
"Blind Man's Lantern" by Allen Kim Lang
They are no wiser than the savages, who hide and hoard their little heaps of cowrie-shells.
"American Sketches" by Charles Whibley
It was covered with red velvet and decorated with cowrie shells.
"The Horsewoman" by Alice M. Hayes
There the English for the first time saw cowries used as money.
"Celebrated Travels and Travellers" by Jules Verne
Empty bags are now filled with heads instead of cowries.
"Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments" by Various
The folly of the gambling savage, who stakes his liberty against a handful of cowrie shells is nothing to it.
"The Claims of Labour an essay on the duties of the employers to the employed" by Arthur Helps
He wore a broad belt decorated with cowrie shells and beads.
"The Upward Path" by Various
He identified cowries, whelks, and some excellent specimens of Triton's horn.
"The Wailing Octopus" by Harold Leland Goodwin
The form of divorce is simple; among the Khasis it consists of the exchange of five cowries.
"The Position of Woman in Primitive Society" by C. Gasquoine Hartley
Islands are denoted on this wonderful piece of native work by cowrie shells fastened to the framework.
"Stevensoniana" by Various
It probably influenced the earliest savages in the manner of wearing their cowries.
"The Sword of Deborah" by F. Tennyson Jesse
They asked if I could send them some cowry shells, which they use as decorations for the dance.
"A Book-Lover's Holidays in the Open" by Theodore Roosevelt
It's called the divination of the sixteen cowrie shells.
"Caribbee" by Thomas Hoover
The cowry circulation of the Indian coasts is probably a case in point.
"Readings in Money and Banking" by Chester Arthur Phillips
It is so seen by him among the cowries.
"The Kadambari of Bana" by Bana
A married woman has both colours, and several cowries tied to the end of the necklace.
"The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India" by R. V. Russell
Some have no money coins and leave cowrie shells instead.
"Seven Legs Across the Seas" by Samuel Murray

In news:

The pins sell for $75 (brass, with cowrie shells) and $120 (with slave images).
Cowrie shell carving is a global phenomenon.