DEFINITION of 'Abacus'

1. A calculation tool used by sliding counters along rods or grooves, used to perform mathematical functions. In addition to calculating the basic functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, the abacus can calculate roots up to the cubic degree.

2. A semi-annual accounting journal published and edited by the University of Sydney. Published in 1965, this journal covers all areas of accounting.

BREAKING DOWN 'Abacus'

It is believed that the abacus was first used by the Babylonians, as early as 2,400 B.C. Since that time, the physical structure of abaci have changed. However, the idea has survived almost five millenia, and is still being used today.

The Chinese and Japanese use different finger techniques with their abaci. The Chinese use three fingers (thumb, index, and middle) to move the beads; while the Japanese only use their thumb and index fingers.

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