Abacuses – Definition & Meaning

Abacuses, also known as counting frames or sorobans, are ancient mathematical tools used for calculation. They consist of a wooden frame with beads or stones arranged on wires or rods. Abacuses have been used for centuries, and their use has been widespread in many cultures. In this article, we will explore the definitions, origins, meanings, associations, synonyms, antonyms, and examples of abacuses.


An abacus is a calculating tool that consists of a frame with rows of wires or rods, each holding a series of beads or stones. The beads or stones are moved along the rods to represent numbers, and calculations are made by adding or subtracting the beads or stones.


The origin of the abacus is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have been invented in ancient China around 500 BCE. It then spread to other parts of Asia, including Japan, Korea, and India. The abacus was also used in ancient Greece and Rome, where it was known as a counting board.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to Merriam-Webster, an abacus is “an instrument for performing arithmetic calculations, consisting of a frame with rows of wires or grooves along which beads are slid.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines an abacus as “a frame with beads or balls for counting, used in ancient times and still in use in some countries.”


Abacuses are associated with mathematics and calculation. They are often used in schools to teach children basic arithmetic and are still used in some countries for daily calculations.


Some synonyms for abacuses include counting frame, soroban, and calculating table.


There are no direct antonyms for abacuses, as they are a tool used for calculation.

The same root words

Abacuses do not have any direct root words, but the word “abacus” comes from the Greek word “abax,” which means “table” or “board.”

Example Sentences

  1. The teacher used an abacus to teach the students how to add and subtract.
  2. The merchant used an abacus to calculate the cost of his goods.
  3. The abacus was an important tool in ancient China for trade and commerce.
  4. The soroban, a type of abacus used in Japan, is still taught in schools today.
  5. The abacus was replaced by the calculator in many parts of the world in the 20th century.
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