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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 principal differences seen were the inclusion of perforated cowrie shells or imitations in stone in the sets (also seen in later burials at Liulihe [95F15M2]), and the more prominent use of a widening range of stones, including serpentine, calcite, fluorite and possibly gypsum.
Note that the flower petals are cowrie shells of differing size.
Cowrie shells, leather and/or pelts and the gold standard were other types of currency that were used in the past.
He kept part of the old harness, which was decorated with cowrie shells.
They wore bark cloth adorned with cowrie shells, feathers and whistles.
She first used ceramic materials to mimic other media such as bark cloth or cowrie shells, until she later incorporated non-ceramic but refractory materials fused with clay to make the objects themselves.
The associations of cowries with the history of the slave trade (the Europeans used cowrie shells from the Indian Ocean to buy slaves) has resonance for these objects as well, because it was in part as protection against the dangers of slaving wars that these bocio once had a central role.
The young men and women stepped off a plane to a raucous welcome yesterday, including dancers who pounded the pavement in costumes made of cowrie shells and traditional praise singers.
Maya dances in kente cloth with cowrie shells or in leotards and tutus.
A Chase Bank banner was repurposed into AfroChase, with the company's name, logo, and a motto--STRENGTHENING OUR COMMUNITIES--depicted in gray felt home insulation adorned with hair picks and cowrie shells, an iconic early form of tender in West Africa as well as an emblem of fortune-telling and divination.
In this case, the bag contained a whole necklace-worth of cowrie shells from Papua New Guinea, some old Tibetan beads made of turquoise and carved bone, as well as a large cultured pearl and one bead of mammoth ivory.