Share this entry

Share this page

abacus

Syllabification: ab·a·cus
Pronunciation: /ˈabəkəs
 
/

Definition of abacus in English:

noun (plural abacuses)

1An oblong frame with rows of wires or grooves along which beads are slid, used for calculating.
Example sentences
  • An abacus with 5 beads per wire will do quite nicely.
  • Our eventual aim is to display the complete history of computing, from the abacus to the latest machines.
  • A young man sat against the wall doing calculation with an abacus and recording data onto paper.
2 Architecture The flat slab on top of a capital, supporting the architrave.
Example sentences
  • The abacus is between the architrave and the aechinus in the capital.
  • The capital displays on three of its faces a single naked male dancer, whose head is positioned on the central axis, midway between volutes, as if to form a console supporting the abacus.
  • The waterleaf is a broad, unribbed, tapering leaf curving up towards the angle of the abacus and turned in at the top.

Origin

late Middle English (denoting a board strewn with sand on which to draw figures): from Latin, from Greek abax, abak- 'slab, drawing board', of Semitic origin; probably related to Hebrew 'āḇāq 'dust'.

Definition of abacus in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day verbose
Pronunciation: vərˈbōs
adjective
using more words than are needed…