Where does the word “calculate” (abacus) come from and What does calculate mean?

The abax of ancient Greece, used as a counting board, was found to meet fully the needs also of later Roman mathematicians, who changed its name to abacus, a name that we still employ.

Wooden beads, or the like, strung upon wires, are used on modern boards. But in ancient times the board was divided by partitions into the number of compartments that might be wanted, and small pebbles were used for the counters, such pebbles being moved from compartment to compartment as the reckoning might require.

The Latin name for a pebble was calculus.

where does the word calculate abacus come from and what does calculate mean

One who calculates is, therefore, one who, in ancient times, moved pebbles about upon an abacus for a mathematical reckoning.

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Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.