# abacus

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abacus

## ab·a·cus

(ăb′ə-kəs, ə-băk′əs)
n. pl. ab·a·cus·es or ab·a·ci (ăb′ə-sī′, ə-băk′ī′)
1. A manual computing device consisting of a frame holding parallel rods strung with movable counters.
2. Architecture A slab on the top of the capital of a column.

[Middle English, from Latin, from Greek abax, abak-, counting board, perhaps from a Semitic source akin to Hebrew 'ābāq, dust; see ʔbq in Semitic roots.]
Word History: The source of our word abacus, the Greek word abax, may have originated in one of the Semitic languages spoken in the ancient Near East. The Semitic word that was the source of Greek abax was probably akin to the Hebrew word 'ābāq, "dust," which in postbiblical usage could also mean "sand used as a writing surface." The Greek word abax has as one of its senses "a board sprinkled with sand or dust for drawing geometric diagrams." Boards like this were also used for performing arithmetic calculations by moving pebbles around the board, and these early abacuses eventually developed into the abacuses with movable counters strung on rods familiar to us today. Greek abax was borrowed into Latin as abacus, and then the Latin word was borrowed into Middle English. The first known use of the word abacus in English, found in a Middle English work written before 1387, refers to a kind of sand-board abacus that was used according to techniques that European mathematicians adopted from the Muslim world.

## abacus

(ˈæbəkəs)
n, pl -ci (-ˌsaɪ) or -cuses
1. (Mathematics) 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. (Architecture) architect the flat upper part of the capital of a column
[C16: from Latin, from Greek abax board covered with sand for tracing calculations, from Hebrew ābhāq dust]

## ab•a•cus

(ˈæb ə kəs, əˈbæk əs)

n., pl. ab•a•cus•es, ab•a•ci (ˈæb əˌsaɪ, -ˌkaɪ, əˈbæk aɪ)
1. a device for making arithmetical calculations, consisting of a frame set with rods on which balls or beads are moved.
2. a slab forming the top of the capital of a column.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Latin: board, counting board, re-formed < Greek ábax]
abacus
On a Chinese abacus, the columns of beads go from right to left and represent ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, and so on. The beads above the crossbar have a value of five; the beads below the crossbar have a value of one. The beads are totaled when moved down or up toward the crossbar.

## ab·a·cus

(ăb′ə-kəs)
Plural abacuses or abaci (ăb′ə-sī′)
A computing device consisting of a frame holding parallel rods with sliding beads.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
 Noun 1 abacus - a tablet placed horizontally on top of the capital of a column as an aid in supporting the architravetablet - a slab of stone or wood suitable for bearing an inscription 2 abacus - a calculator that performs arithmetic functions by manually sliding counters on rods or in groovescalculating machine, calculator - a small machine that is used for mathematical calculations
Translations
abacuskugleramme
AbakusKapitelldeckplatteRechenbrett
abako
abakus
abakushelmitaulukatelaatta
abaqueboulierboulier compteurtailloir
गिनतारा
abakusz
sempoa
talnagrind
そろばん算盤
abakabakusliczydło
abacabacă
abak
abakuskulram
abaküs
bàn tính

## abacus

[ˈæbəkəs] N (abacuses (abaci (pl))) [ˈæbəsaɪ]

## abacus

[ˈæbəkəs] [abaci] [ˈæbəsaɪ] (pl) n (= counting frame) →

## abacus

n pl <abaci> → Abakus m

## abacus

[ˈæbəkəs] n (abacuses or abaci (pl)) [ˈæbəsaɪ]
References in periodicals archive ?
Montessori Math: Add & Subtract Large Numbers uses two staples of the Montessori method, the stamp game and the bead frame, to make crystal clear what is happening when we add or subtract numbers and what the numbers refer to in reality.
When I challenged the firm, they refused to take stocks of the pounds 10 mini bead frame off the shelves, claiming that the incident could not recur.
Fortunately, the tot was OK but her gran Catherine, 63, from Carmunnock, Glasgow, took the pounds 10 mini bead frame back to ELC at Park head Forge.

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