Clipped from wampumpeag (from Narragansett; cf. the opposite clipping peag), which is a compound of wamp, wompi (“white”) + umpe (“string”) + -ag (plural suffix), and referred to the string of white shell-beads rather than 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)