Wampum

Wam"pum

(?), n. [North American Indian wampum, wompam, from the Mass. wmpi, Del. wpe, white.] Beads made of shells, used by the North American Indians as money, and also wrought into belts, etc., as an ornament.
[1913 Webster]

Round his waist his belt of wampum.
Longfellow.
[1913 Webster]

Girded with his wampum braid.
Whittier.
[1913 Webster]

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.
[1913 Webster]

 

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Mon 10th December 2018