abacus

play
noun aba·cus \ˈa-bə-kəs, ə-ˈba-\

Definition of abacus

plural

abaci

play play \ˈa-bə-ˌsī, -ˌkē; ə-ˈba-ˌkī\ or

abacuses

  1. 1 :  an instrument for performing calculations by sliding counters along rods or in grooves

  2. 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.

Illustration of abacus

Origin and Etymology of abacus

Latin, from Greek abak-, abax, literally, slab


First Known Use: 14th century

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms


ABACUS Defined for English Language Learners

abacus

play
noun aba·cus \ˈa-bə-kəs, ə-ˈba-\

Definition of abacus for English Language Learners

  • : a device used for counting and calculating by sliding small balls or beads along rods or in grooves


ABACUS Defined for Kids

abacus

play
noun aba·cus \ˈa-bə-kəs\

Definition of abacus for Students

plural

abaci

\ˈa-bə-ˌsī\ or

abacuses

  1. :  an instrument for doing arithmetic by sliding counters along rods or in grooves



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