Simple Definition of abacus
: a device used for counting and calculating by sliding small balls or beads along rods or in grooves
Full Definition of abacusplural
abaciplay \ˈa-bə-ˌsī, -ˌkē; ə-ˈba-ˌkī\ or
1 : an instrument for performing calculations by sliding counters along rods or in grooves
2 : a slab that forms the uppermost member or division of the capital of a column
Did You Know?
Probably of Babylonian origin, an abacus is a calculating instrument that uses beads that slide along a series of wires or rods set in a frame to represent the decimal places. It is the ancestor of the modern digital calculator. Used by merchants in the Middle Ages throughout Europe and the Arabic world, it was gradually replaced by arithmetic based on Hindu-Arabic numerals. Though rarely used in Europe past the 18th century, it is still used in the Middle East, China, and Japan.
Origin and Etymology of abacus
Latin, from Greek abak-, abax, literally, slab
First Known Use: 14th century
ABACUS Defined for Kids
Definition of abacus for Students
: an instrument for doing arithmetic by sliding counters along rods or in grooves
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