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Wampum definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

WAMPUM, n. Shells or strings of shells, used by the American Indians as money or a medium of commerce. These strings of shells when united, form a broad belt, which is worn as an ornament or girdle. It is sometimes called wampumpeague, and wompeague, or wampampeague, of which wampum seems to be a contraction.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: informal terms for money [syn: boodle, bread, cabbage, clams, dinero, dough, gelt, kale, lettuce, lolly, lucre, loot, moolah, pelf, scratch, shekels, simoleons, sugar, wampum]
2: small cylindrical beads made from polished shells and fashioned into strings or belts; used by certain Native American peoples as jewelry or currency [syn: wampum, peag, wampumpeag]

Merriam Webster's

noun Etymology: short for wampumpeag Date: 1636 1. beads of polished shells strung in strands, belts, or sashes and used by North American Indians as money, ceremonial pledges, and ornaments 2. money

Britannica Concise

Tubular shell beads assembled into strings or woven into belts or embroidered ornaments. The Algonquian word (short for wampumpeag) translates as "string of white (shell beads)." Before contact with white settlers, Indians used wampum primarily ceremonially or in gift exchanges. In the early 17th cent. it came to be used as money in trade with whites because of a shortage of European currency.

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. beads made from shells and strung together for use as money, decoration, or as aids to memory by N. American Indians. Etymology: Algonquin wampumpeag f. wap white + umpe string + -ag pl. suffix

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Wampum Wam"pum, n. [North American Indian wampum, wompam, from the Mass. w['o]mpi, Del. w[=a]pe, white.] Beads made of shells, used by the North American Indians as money, and also wrought into belts, etc., as an ornament. Round his waist his belt of wampum. --Longfellow. Girded with his wampum braid. --Whittier. Note: These beads were of two kinds, one white, and the other black or dark purple. The term wampum is properly applied only to the white; the dark purple ones are called suckanhock. See Seawan. ``It [wampum] consisted of cylindrical pieces of the shells of testaceous fishes, a quarter of an inch long, and in diameter less than a pipestem, drilled . . . so as to be strung upon a thread. The beads of a white color, rated at half the value of the black or violet, passed each as the equivalent of a farthing in transactions between the natives and the planters.'' --Palfrey.

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

n. Wompompeage, wampeage.

Moby Thesaurus

anklet, armlet, bangle, beads, bijou, blunt, boodle, bracelet, brass, bread, breastpin, brooch, bucks, cabbage, cash, chain, chaplet, charm, chatelaine, chips, circle, coin, coronet, cowrie, crown, currency, diadem, dinero, dough, earring, fob, gelt, gem, gilt, grease, green, green stuff, greenbacks, jack, jewel, kale, legal tender, locket, lucre, mazuma, moolah, mopus, necklace, nose ring, oil of palms, ointment, oof, ooftish, pin, precious stone, rhinestone, rhino, ring, roanoke, rocks, sewan, shekels, simoleons, spondulics, stickpin, stone, sugar, the needful, tiara, tin, torque, wristband, wristlet


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