# abacus

[ab-uh-kuh s, uh-bak-uh s]

- a device for making arithmetic calculations, consisting of a frame set with rods on which balls or beads are moved.
- Architecture. a slab forming the top of the capital of a column.

## Origin of abacus^{}

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin: board, counting board, re-formed < Greek ábax

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

## Examples from the Web for abacus

### Contemporary Examples

### Historical Examples

#### Abacus, a square tablet which crowns the capital of the column.

ArchitectureThomas Roger Smith

#### This, as pictured in the text, is the common Gerbert abacus.

The Hindu-Arabic NumeralsDavid Eugene Smith

#### The height of the abacus is one seventh of the height of the capital.

Ten Books on ArchitectureVitruvius

#### The flowers on the four sides are to be made as large as the height of the abacus.

Ten Books on ArchitectureVitruvius

#### The abacus has a width equivalent to the thickness of the bottom of a column.

Ten Books on ArchitectureVitruvius

# abacus

- 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
- 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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

## Word Origin and History for abacus

### n.

late 14c., "sand table for drawing, calculating, etc.," from Latin abacus, from Greek abax (genitive abakos) "counting table," from Hebrew 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