noun \ˈka-rē\

: a small snail that is found in warm seas

: the shiny and often brightly colored shell of the cowrie

plural cowries

Full Definition of COWRIE

:  any of various marine gastropods (family Cypraeidae) that are widely distributed in warm seas and have glossy and often brightly colored shells; also :  the shell of a cowrie

Variants of COWRIE

cow·rie also cow·ry \ˈka-rē\

Origin of COWRIE

Hindi & Urdu kauṛī
First Known Use: 1662

Rhymes with COWRIE


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Cowrie (Cypraea)—Bucky Reeves—The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers

Any of several marine snails (genus Cypraea) found chiefly in coastal waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. Its humped, thick shell is beautifully coloured (often speckled) and glossy. That of the 4-in. (10-cm) golden cowrie was traditionally worn by royalty on Pacific islands. The money cowrie, a 1-in. (2.5-cm) yellow species, has served as currency in Africa and elsewhere.


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