Early settlers in New England found that the Indians prized the quahog, a bivalve, for a twofold reason.
First, the succulent meat provided many a welcome feast; finally, the dark spot on the inside of the shell was cut out and used for money, black wampum.
Our word is a contraction of the Narraganset poquauhock, or the Pequot p’quaughhaug, meaning “hard clam.”
The ever-romantic biologists, however, seized upon the monetary use of the clam in assigning it its Latin name, Venus mercenaria.
Quogue, another variant spelling, is also the name of a small community on Long Island, New York.