Wampum meaning

wŏmpəm, wôm-
The definition of a wampum is a string or quantity of beads made from shells that were used by native North American Indians as money or that are worn as a decorative belt.

A string of white and black beads made from shells is an example of wampum.

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Small cylindrical beads made from polished shells and fashioned into strings or belts, formerly used by certain Native American peoples as currency and jewelry or for ceremonial exchanges between groups.
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(informal) Money.
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Small beads made of shells and used by North American Indians as money, for ornament, etc.: they were of two varieties, white and the more valuable black (or dark purple)
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(slang) Money.
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Small beads made from polished shells, especially white ones, formerly used as money and jewelry by certain Native American peoples.
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(informal) Money.
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Origin of wampum

  • Short for wampumpeag

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From wampumpeag (from Narragansett), due to Europeans' mistaken interpretation of the term as a compound of "˜wampum' + "˜peag'; it is, in fact, a compound of wamp, wompi (“white") + umpe (“string") + -ag (plural suffix), in reference to the string of white shell-beads and not the individual beads.

    From Wiktionary