Definitions of abacus

  1. 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. A table or tray strewn with sand, anciently used for drawing, calculating, etc.
  4. 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.
  5. The uppermost member or division of the capital of a column, immediately under the architrave. See Column.
  6. A tablet, panel, or compartment in ornamented or mosaic work.
  7. A board, tray, or table, divided into perforated compartments, for holding cups, bottles, or the like; a kind of cupboard, buffet, or sideboard.
  8. A device for counting, consisting of beads or balls strung on wires or rods set in a frame; the top layer of a column or pillar.
  9. A counting- frame or table: ( arch.) a level tablet on the capital of a column.
  10. A reckoning- table with sliding balls.
  11. A slab forming the top of a capital.
  12. An ancient contrivance still used in elementary schools to teach arithmetical calculations, called also Abacus Pythagoricus; a cupboard or buffet. A table constituting the upper member of crowning of a column and its capital Abacus harmonicus, the structure and disposition of the keys of a musical instrument.
  13. A counting frame; in arch., the crowning table of a column.

Usage examples for abacus

  1. In the Ionic order the flat abacus of the Doric capital is replaced by two coiled volutes projecting beyond the echinus on either side, and the horizontal portion between the volutes is surmounted by finely carved leaf mouldings. – Architecture by Nancy R E Meugens Bell
  2. " Counting the cost" is in things temporal the only wise course, as in the building of a tower; but there are times in the life of an individual, of a people, when the things that are eternal force themselves into the calculation, and the abacus is nowhere. – The Creed of the Old South 1865-1915 by Basil L. Gildersleeve
  3. A. The windows were mostly small and narrow, seldom of more than one light, except belfry windows, which were usually divided into two round- headed lights by a shaft, with a capital and abacus – The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed. by Matthew Holbeche Bloxam
  4. Arithmetic holds the table of the Abacus and under her sits Abraham, its inventor. – The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors & Architects, Volume 1 (of 8) by Giorgio Vasari
  5. This, as pictured in the text, is the common Gerbert abacus – The Hindu-Arabic Numerals by David Eugene Smith Louis Charles Karpinski
  6. When Butas had gone out, he drew the sword and thrust it beneath his chest, but as he used his hand with less effect owing to the inflammation, he did not immediately despatch himself, and having some difficulty in dying he fell from the bed and made a noise by overturning a little abacus of the geometrical kind that stood by, which his attendants perceiving called out and his son and his friends immediately ran in. – Plutarch's Lives Volume III. by Plutarch
  7. It was a kind of abacus – Our Legal Heritage, 4th Ed. by S. A. Reilly
  8. The invention of it I think may fairly be attributed to the Chinese; though it has been compared, how justly I cannot pretend to say, to the Roman abacus – Travels in China, Containing Descriptions, Observations, and Comparisons, Made and Collected in the Course of a Short Residence at the Imperial Palace of Yuen-Min-Yuen, and on a Subsequent Journey through the Country from Pekin to Canton by John Barrow
  9. A. A string- course similar in form to the common Norman abacus with a plain face and the under part bevelled, is of most frequent occurrence; a plain semihexagon string- course is also often to be met with. – The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed. by Matthew Holbeche Bloxam
  10. Shen Heng shook the rafters of the Golden Abacus with indignation, and called upon his domestic demons, the spirits of eleven generations of embroidering ancestors, and the illuminated tablets containing the High Code and Authority of the Distinguished Brotherhood of Coffin Cloth and Burial Robe Makers in protest against so barbarous an innovation. – Kai Lung's Golden Hours by Ernest Bramah Commentator: Hilaire Belloc
  11. Above the abacus of each capital is the simple Norman bowl capital inlaid with rich mosaic. – Cathedral Cities of Italy by William Wiehe Collins
  12. The dentil course of the pedimental cornice takes the form of a peculiar reeded H pattern which is repeated in much finer scale on the edge of the corona, the abacus of the capitals and its continuation across the lintel of the door. – The Colonial Architecture of Philadelphia by Frank Cousins Phil M. Riley
  13. Bubnov holds that the forms first found in Europe are derived from ancient symbols used on the abacus but that the zero is of Hindu origin. – The Hindu-Arabic Numerals by David Eugene Smith Louis Charles Karpinski
  14. Flutings also adorn the short architraves each side of the fanlight, and the abacus of the pilaster columns which is carried across a supplementary lintel in front of the lintel proper, the latter being several inches to the rear because of the deeply recessed arrangement of the door. – The Colonial Architecture of Philadelphia by Frank Cousins Phil M. Riley
  15. Even for many years after the appearance early in the twelfth century of the books explaining the Hindu art of reckoning, there was strife between the abacists, the advocates of the abacus and the algorists, those who favored the new numerals. – The Hindu-Arabic Numerals by David Eugene Smith Louis Charles Karpinski
  16. Is it a coincidence that the Greeks used an abacus or counting- board, on which the beads slid up and down in vertical grooves, while on the Chinese counting- board the only difference is that the beads slide up and down on vertical rods? – China and the Chinese by Herbert Allen Giles
  17. The square abacus may be taken as the best test. – Our Homeland Churches and How to Study Them by Sidney Heath
  18. The abacus is plain, and the broad pilasters which carry the outermost order are beautifully carved on the broader face with a small running pattern of leaves. – Portuguese Architecture by Walter Crum Watson