from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A manual computing device consisting of a frame holding parallel rods strung with movable counters.
- n. Architecture A slab on the top of the capital of a column.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A table or tray strewn with sand, anciently used for drawing, calculating, etc.
- n. A calculating table or frame; an instrument for performing arithmetical calculations by balls sliding on wires, or counters in grooves, the lowest line representing units, the second line, tens, etc. It is still employed in China.
- n. The uppermost member or division of the capital of a column, immediately under the architrave. See Column.
- n. A tablet, panel, or compartment in ornamented or mosaic work.
- n. A board, tray, or table, divided into perforated compartments, for holding cups, bottles, or the like; a kind of cupboard, buffet, or sideboard.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A tray strewn with dust or sand, used in ancient times for calculating.
- n. A contrivance for calculating, consisting of beads or balls strung on wires or rods set in a frame.
- n. In architecture: The slab or plinth which forms the upper member of the capital of a column or pillar, and upon which rests, in classic styles, the lower surface of the architrave.
- n. Any rectangular slab or piece; especially, a stone or marble tablet serving as a sideboard, shelf, or credence.
- n. In Roman antiquity, a board divided into compartments, for use in a game of the nature of draughts, etc.
- n. The mystic staff carried by the grand master of the Templars.
- n. The structure and arrangement of the keys or pedals of a musical instrument.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a tablet placed horizontally on top of the capital of a column as an aid in supporting the architrave
- n. a calculator that performs arithmetic functions by manually sliding counters on rods or in grooves
Middle English, from Latin, from Greek abax, abak-, counting board, perhaps from Hebrew 'ābāq, dust; see אbq in Semitic roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin abacus, abax; from Greek ἄβαξ ('a`bax, "board covered with sand"), possibly from Hebrew אבק (āvāq, "dust"). (Wiktionary)