qui·​pu ˈkē-(ˌ)pü How to pronounce quipu (audio)
: a device made of a main cord with smaller varicolored cords attached and knotted and used by the ancient Peruvians (as for calculating)

Examples of quipu in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By the end of the project, which ran from 2016 to 2018, the quipu included 18 ropes of thread comprised of countless knots. Steven Vargas, Los Angeles Times, 3 Oct. 2023 Items on display include an Incan quipu, a 19th-century parlor game featuring characters from Charles Dickens novels and a clay tablet from 3000-2030 BC. Lauryn Azu, Chicago Tribune, 2 Feb. 2023 In January the Peruvian Ministry of Culture gave the quipu national heritage status, hailing it as an ingenious legacy of the indigenous culture. National Geographic, 19 May 2020 Here are some notable ways the population was counted before the first U.S. census in 1790: Incan Quipu: Instead of counting with tally marks, Incans lined up quipu or threads (made out of llama or alpaca, according to some sources). Olivia B. Waxman, Time, 22 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quipu.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Spanish quipo, from Quechua khipu

First Known Use

1704, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of quipu was in 1704

Dictionary Entries Near quipu

Cite this Entry

“Quipu.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quipu. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

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