wam·​pum | \ ˈwäm-pəm How to pronounce wampum (audio) \

Definition of wampum

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for wampum


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of wampum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Iroquois documented the border on their wampum as a white line between two black ones. Porter Fox, Outside Online, "Exploring America's Forgotten Border," 1 June 2018 Grinding corn and making No-Ke-Hick to eat, making wampum belts, studying pelts, tracking animals, and trying their hand at hunting games gave the kids a taste of what life might have been like for indigenous people hundreds of years ago. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Learning About Native Americans At Pomfret Audubon Center," 24 Apr. 2018 Look at the aboriginal ways, from visual expression to the wampum belt, dances and oral storytelling. Catherine Porter, New York Times, "A College Built for Canadian Settlers Envisions an Indigenous Future," 19 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of wampum

1636, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wampum

short for wampumpeag

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wampum

Time Traveler for wampum

Time Traveler

The first known use of wampum was in 1636

See more words from the same year

Statistics for wampum

Cite this Entry

“Wampum.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wampum. Accessed 23 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wampum


How to pronounce wampum (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wampum

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


wam·​pum | \ ˈwäm-pəm How to pronounce wampum (audio) \

Kids Definition of wampum

: beads made of shells and once used for money or ornament by North American Indians

More from Merriam-Webster on wampum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wampum

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wampum

Comments on wampum

What made you want to look up wampum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!