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Napier's bones

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noun (used with a singular verb) Mathematics.
  1. a form of multiplication table originally marked on sticks of bone or ivory that could be rearranged to carry out the operations of multiplication or division.
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Origin of Napier's bones

First recorded in 1650–60; after their developer, J. Napier
Also called Napier's rods.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for napier's bones

Napier's bones

pl n
  1. a set of graduated rods formerly used for multiplication and division
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Word Origin

C17: based on a method invented by John Napier
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