noun \ˈwäm-pəm\

: beads, polished shells, etc., used in the past by Native Americans as money and decorations

Full Definition of WAMPUM

:  beads of polished shells strung in strands, belts, or sashes and used by North American Indians as money, ceremonial pledges, and ornaments
:  money

Examples of WAMPUM

  1. <made some real wampum on that last business deal>

Origin of WAMPUM

short for wampumpeag
First Known Use: 1636


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Tubular shell beads assembled into strings or woven into belts or embroidered ornaments. The Algonquian word (short for wampumpeag) translates as “string of white (shell beads).” Before contact with white settlers, Indians used wampum primarily ceremonially or in gift exchanges. In the early 17th century it came to be used as money in trade with whites, because of a shortage of European currency.


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