(redirected from Cowrie shells)
Also found in: Thesaurus.


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.
Now he wore a richly embroidered red skirt, a headpiece of cowrie shells hung with tufts of yak's tail and a sadly magnificent bandolier of yellowed tiger's teeth, some six inches long.
While perhaps not as valuable, this example is typical of the dresses Kiowa women made towards the end of the nineteenth century and into the early parts of the twentieth century, using cowrie shells and carved bone imitation teeth as substitutes for real elk ivory teeth which had become unavailable.
People seeking an answer to their problems consult the Babalowa who will cast the Cowrie shells and depending on whether they fall face up or down, mark the binary results as an algorithm on the floor.
Built by Field Marshall Kaiser Shumsher, The Garden was inspired after a trip to Edwardian England using funds that Kaiser had won from his father in a game of cowrie shells.
The American woman hears him before she sees him--his arm a clink and chime of cowrie shells and beads.
suffers a trance-inducing "attack" from the cowrie shells embedded in his skull.
Each piece is inspired by a different culture and uses healing crystals, semiprecious stones and cowrie shells in addition to iconic charms to create the signature Ivory style," Zaki says.
Try this chic knit style for a picture-perfect vacation look, from the handmade, open-crochet-detailed triangle top to the side-tie hipster bottoms, which feature tassels with dip-dyed ends and antiqued cowrie shells.
As societies became more complex, other inedible products were also given exchange value: pearls and cowrie shells from the sea, and finally processed precious metals from the earth like gold, silver, copper and bronze.
The four cornered arrangement of cowrie shells indicates the festal rank of the owner's ancestor [10].
He kept part of the old harness, which was decorated with cowrie shells.