Definition of "abacus" [ab•a•cus]

  • A manual computing device consisting of a frame holding parallel rods strung with movable counters. (noun)
  • Architecture A slab on the top of the capital of a column. (noun)
  • 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 (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • The flat upper part of the capital of a column (noun)

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Use "abacus" in a sentence
  • "More specifically, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway for its five big bills got an issue of perpetual preferred Goldman shares with a neat 10% annual dividend, which according to our abacus translates into $5 million a year."
  • "The columns of these pillared porches have sixteen flutings, a plain abacus, and no plinth."
  • "It now had fence slats and feed bags laid across, and held all types of useful things—shuttlecocks, disposable cameras, Play-Doh molds, and so on—things Joey found discarded, including a functional abacus, which is really quite rare."