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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.
33 and 41 contained hundreds of bronzes, including two drums, one cowrie shell container and three buckets, one of these topped by standing cattle.
Attic drinking cups, Etruscan bronzes and a Macedonian coin, no less than exotic raw materials such as Baltic amber, Mediterranean coral, a cowrie shell from the Arabian Gulf and even silk indicate how widespread the down-the-line trading of the Durrnberg miners must have been.
Robert Welsch looks at pig kills, pork distribution, cowrie shell circulation, and expanding demographic and political hegemony through focusing on the centrality of the Muyu of the Upper Fly-Digul Plain region.
One individual was also buried with a cowrie shell necklace, and another with a necklace of horn and bead, that are likely to be of African origin.
II One of Burton's craftsmen used a lathe to form the silver bowl on which the cowrie shell stands.
Walking along the beach would be a doorpiece (the 'lid' on the shell of sea molluscs) or maybe a cowrie shell or a bit of driftwoo.
Five years ago, brightly colored handwoven Kente cloth, brimless Kufi hats, earthy mud cloths from Ghana and Senegal and bone-toned cowrie shell jewelry appeared to be a nostalgic way of dressing among African Americans.
Paige held up a cowrie shell and said, "This is my.
At least two early Neolithic individuals wore cowrie shell ornaments, indicating exchange ultimately with coastal communities.
Antelope Horn handle symbolizing Strength, and Cowrie Shell necklace
The rectangular cavity in the belly, considered to be the center of power, was probably covered with a large, white cowrie shell or a mirror which deflected evil forces.