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.
wampum (plural wampums or wampum)
- Small beads made from polished shells, especially white ones, formerly used as money and jewelry by certain Native American peoples.
- (informal) Money.
- (white shells): suckanhock (black shells)