cow·​rie | \ ˈkau̇-rē How to pronounce cowrie (audio) \
variants: or less commonly cowry
plural cowries

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

Examples of cowrie in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His suits are African-themed, covered in cowrie shells and beads, with an elaborate warrior-style mask that covers his face. Washington Post, 23 May 2022 This includes designs inspired by the landscapes of the Caribbean and natural objects such as leaves and cowrie shells. Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2021 Miles of white beaches, dotted with sea-glass and sculptural cowrie shells, are edged with turquoise seas of brilliant hues. Angelina Villa-clarke, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 But, whether beaded or wood, leopard motif or cowrie, Bamileke stools are impressively constructed, beautifully designed and will make any interior feel like it’s fit for a Fon. Jeanine Hays And Bryan Mason, House Beautiful, 24 Aug. 2021 Everyday objects had long served the same purpose, but coins were more durable than the cowrie shells of Africa and more portable than the fei stones of Micronesia, although less delicious than the cocoa seeds of Central America. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 28 July 2021 Money was also a means of accounting for debts; easier still than using cowrie shells would be to take the grain now, get some notches on a tally stick, and later provide llamas, or grain, or whatever was promised to pay off the debt. James Mackintosh, WSJ, 4 July 2021 Her recurring use of cowrie shells, for instance—like on her Come & Go & Come hoops—traces back to her African heritage, and touches on an affirmation that has guided her throughout life. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 23 Nov. 2020 The Ngady Mwaash mask, with its beadwork and cowrie shell accents, can indicate the wearer’s class and rank in society. Kimi Robinson, azcentral, 13 Feb. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cowrie.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of cowrie

1662, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cowrie

Hindi & Urdu kauṛī

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Cite this Entry

“Cowrie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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