qui·​pu | \ ˈkē-(ˌ)pü How to pronounce quipu (audio) \

Definition of quipu

: 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 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quipu.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of quipu

1704, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quipu

Spanish quipo, from Quechua khipu

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About quipu

Statistics for quipu

Cite this Entry

“Quipu.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quipu. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on quipu

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about quipu


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!