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or cow·ry  (kou′rē)
n. pl. cow·ries
Any of various marine gastropods of the family Cypraeidae of tropical and subtropical seas, having glossy, often colorfully patterned shells, some of which were formerly used as currency in parts of the South Pacific and Africa.

[Hindi kauṛī, from Sanskrit kapardikā, diminutive of kapardaḥ, shell, of Dravidian origin.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cowry - any of numerous tropical marine gastropods of the genus Cypraea having highly polished usually brightly marked shellscowry - any of numerous tropical marine gastropods of the genus Cypraea having highly polished usually brightly marked shells
gastropod, univalve - a class of mollusks typically having a one-piece coiled shell and flattened muscular foot with a head bearing stalked eyes
Cypraea, genus Cypraea - type genus of the family Cypraeidae: the typical cowries
Cypraea moneta, money cowrie - cowrie whose shell is used for money in parts of the southern Pacific and in parts of Africa
Cypraea tigris, tiger cowrie - cowrie whose shell is used for ornament
References in classic literature ?
A garter of white cowrie shells encircled one leg just below the knee.
The sand was beginning to burn, and he saw a small cowrie shell with dots of pink on its belly.
As the Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff noted last year in his book 'The Curse of Cash', early currencies once included "whale's teeth in Fiji, rice in the Philippines, grain in India, cowrie shell money in large parts of Africa and China as well as wampum beads in the United States".
Caption: Figure 17: Late 1890s Kiowa woman's hide dress with cowrie shell adornments.
Small cluster of homes are often engaged in crafts like bell metal work (dhokra), wrought iron craft, terracotta, cowrie shell work, sisal and bamboo products, weaving, stone carving, wood craft, Kosa silk production, Tumba art, Godna printing and tribal painting.
Just after I got married, my mother gave a cowrie shell to my wife and her sister, telling them of the shells' history.
The Sasana Kijang's architectural concept is inspired from the shape of the Cowrie shell, a popular form of money in the Malay Peninsula during the 3rd century with its building facade derived from the geometric patterns of traditional Malaysian songket motifs, reflecting the hand woven fabric designs.
Polo named it porcellane which referred to the cowrie shell, used as currency in the Orient in those days.
The women dance in a circle wearing traditional black robes, ornate cowrie shell headdresses and colourful necklaces.
A cowrie shell remains affixed with resin to the top of the head which has been flattened for the purpose.
The cowrie shell baguette bag at pounds 20 is another must.
Before colonisation, Africa had a single currency, the cowrie shell, which was used from west to east.