OUGUIYA /oo.GEE.uh or oo.GWEE.uh/ n. the basic currency unit of Mauritania
Above is the five-ouguiya coin. I’ve enlarged it so you can see the actual word ouguiya under the 5. Below is the full set of ouiguiya coins…
Unusually, in a world of mostly decimal currencies, the smallest coin is worth 1/5th of an ouguiya. This coin is referred to as the KHOUM.
In addition to coins, the Mauritanian currency supports five bank notes with denominations 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 ouguiyas.
Note that French (a nationally recognized alternative to the official Arabic) is used to spell out the denomination on Mauritanian banknotes; MILLE = one thousand in this case.
Like many Scrabble players, I first encountered this word as one of a long list of 5-vowel 7-letter words. As none of the other members of this prestigious list have anything to do with money (this month’s theme), I ‘ll resist the temptation to talk about them here.
Although I was familiar with today’s word, I did discover today that I’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly all this time. I’ve been pronouncing the -GU- combo as -GW-, as in IGUANA (the lizard). As you hopefully noticed in the definition, however, the correct pronunciation is /oo.GEE.uh/. Like many of my daily words, this one is a good trap for spellers.
Pronunciation is something I haven’t been talking much about so far, but I do include it in most definitions for a reason. That’s right. It just might be on the test!