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abacus

[ab-uh-kuh s, uh-bak-uh s] /ˈæb ə kəs, əˈbæk əs/
noun, plural abacuses, abaci
[ab-uh-sahy, -kahy, uh-bak-ahy] /ˈæb əˌsaɪ, -ˌkaɪ, əˈbæk aɪ/ (Show IPA)
1.
a device for making arithmetic calculations, consisting of a frame set with rods on which balls or beads are moved.
2.
Architecture. a slab forming the top of the capital of a column.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin: board, counting board, re-formed < Greek ábax
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for abacus
  • abacus is what its originators call a solera cabernet.
  • Check out some other great ideas, from abacus to zipper.
  • Their defensive schemes are better suited for an abacus than a computer.
  • abacus payroll is distributed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis depending on the region of the state the temporary is employed.
  • Before the days of the calculator, the abacus was the main tool for adding and multiplying.
  • One side of the trunk contains an abacus with five rows of colored beads.
British Dictionary definitions for abacus

abacus

/ˈæbəkəs/
noun (pl) -ci (-ˌsaɪ), -cuses
1.
a counting device that consists of a frame holding rods on which a specific number of beads are free to move. Each rod designates a given denomination, such as units, tens, hundreds, etc, in the decimal system, and each bead represents a digit or a specific number of digits
2.
(architect) the flat upper part of the capital of a column
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, from Greek abax board covered with sand for tracing calculations, from Hebrew ābhāq dust
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for abacus
abacus
late 14c., "sand table for drawing, calculating, etc.," from L. abacus, from Gk. abax (gen. abakos) "counting table," from Heb. abaq "dust," from root a-b-q "to fly off." Originally a drawing board covered with dust or sand that could be written on to do mathematical equations. Specific reference to a counting frame is 17c. or later.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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