noun (plural dentalia /-lēə/)
1.1 (usually dentalia) historical Tooth shells used as currency, especially by some American Indian peoples: he gave them handfuls of dentalia, for which his father-in-law and his brothers-in-law gave him slaves and valuable furs a white mare purchased with dentalium
More example sentences
- At first, only dentalia shells were placed as bets.
- One basic unit of currency was dentalia: tubular, tusk-shaped shells, often scrimshawed or intricately wrapped in black and red snakeskin.
- Dentalia were very important to the Yurok as wealth items.
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