cowrie

[kou-ree]
noun
1.
the highly polished, usually brightly colored shell of a marine gastropod of the genus Cypraea, as that of C. moneta (money cowrie) used as money in certain parts of Asia and Africa, or that of C. tigris, used for ornament.
2.
the gastropod itself.

Origin:
1655–65; < Hindi kaurī

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World English Dictionary
cowrie or cowry (ˈkaʊrɪ)
 
n , pl -ries
1.  any marine gastropod mollusc of the mostly tropical family Cypraeidae, having a glossy brightly marked shell with an elongated opening
2.  the shell of any of these molluscs, esp the shell of Cypraea moneta (money cowry), used as money in parts of Africa and S Asia
 
[C17: from Hindi kaurī, from Sanskrit kaparda, of Dravidian origin; related to Tamil kōtu shell]
 
cowry or cowry
 
n
 
[C17: from Hindi kaurī, from Sanskrit kaparda, of Dravidian origin; related to Tamil kōtu shell]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cowrie
1662, from Hindi and Urdu kauri, from Mahrati kavadi, from Skt. kaparda, perhaps related to Tamil kotu "shell."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Gastropods may also be included in the diet as evidenced by the use of cowrie shell octopus lures by fishermen.
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