Abax

The use of the word abacus dates before 1387 AD, when a Middle English work borrowed the word from Latin to describe a sandboard abacus. The Latin word came from Greek ἄβαξ abax “board strewn with sand or dust used for drawing geometric figures or calculating”[3] (the exact shape of the Latin perhaps reflects the genitive form of the Greek word, ἄβακoς abakos). Greek ἄβαξ itself is probably a borrowing of a Northwest Semitic, perhaps Phoenician, word akin to Hebrew ʾābāq(אבק), “dust” 

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abacus

 

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