…behind the word

Origin of the word: ABACUS

Abacus /noun, plural: abacuses; abaci/ (English): 1350-1400

> In another languages:

  • Ábaco (Español)
  • Ábaco (Português)
  • Abakus (Deutsch)
  • Abaque (Français)
  • Abaco (Italiano)

> From:

  • Lat. abăcus.
  • Gr. ἄβαξ (‘a·bax): counting board.
  • Hebאבק (ā·’bāq): dust.

> Meaning:

  • Present: A square or rectangular frame holding an arrangement of small balls on metal rods or wires, which is used for counting, adding and subtracting (Cambridge Dictionary). An oblong frame with rows of wires or grooves along which beads are slid, used for calculating (Oxford Dictionary).
  • Original: Board covered with dust to make calculations.

One response

  1. Another meaning of this word, in all the languages mentioned above, is related to Architecture.

    ABACUS in Architecture is: “The flat slab on top of a capital, supporting the architrave” (Oxford Dictionary).

    This usage came from the Greek ἄβαξ (‘a·bax) in the sense of board or slab.

    October 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm

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