Find the word definition

Crossword clues for abaci

The Collaborative International Dictionary

Abacus \Ab"a*cus\ ([a^]b"[.a]*k[u^]s), n.; E. pl. Abacuses; L. pl. Abaci (-s[imac]). [L. abacus, abax, Gr. 'a`bax]

  1. A table or tray strewn with sand, anciently used for drawing, calculating, etc. [Obs.]

  2. 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.

  3. (Arch.)

    1. The uppermost member or division of the capital of a column, immediately under the architrave. See Column.

    2. A tablet, panel, or compartment in ornamented or mosaic work.

  4. A board, tray, or table, divided into perforated compartments, for holding cups, bottles, or the like; a kind of cupboard, buffet, or sideboard.

    Abacus harmonicus (Mus.), an ancient diagram showing the structure and disposition of the keys of an instrument.


n. (en-irregular plural of: abacus)


See abacus

  1. n: a tablet placed horizontally on top of the capital of a column as an aid in supporting the architrave

  2. a calculator that performs arithmetic functions by manually sliding counters on rods or in grooves

  3. [also: abaci (pl)]

Usage examples of "abaci".

To match up the numbers on the scratch paper with the numbers left on the abaci, and thus to compile a flash-frozen image of the calculations that were underway in that room when the apocalypse struck, is not that difficult—at least, by the standards of difficulty that apply during wartime, when, for example, landing several thousand men and tons of equipment on a remote island and taking it from heavily armed, suicidal Japanese troops with the loss of only a few dozen lives is considered to be easy.

They just happen to be exactly the same numbers that were frozen on certain abaci down in the room of the computer slaves.

Two abaci rattling in tandem the whole day long, one changing the shape of the world and the other one deploring the cost.