quipu

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n quipu calculator consisting of a cord with attached cords; used by ancient Peruvians for calculating and keeping records
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Quipu A contrivance employed by the ancient Peruvians, Mexicans, etc., as a substitute for writing and figures, consisting of a main cord, from which hung at certain distances smaller cords of various colors, each having a special meaning, as silver, gold, corn, soldiers. etc. Single, double, and triple knots were tied in the smaller cords, representing definite numbers. It was chiefly used for arithmetical purposes, and to register important facts and events. "The mysterious science of the quipus . . . supplied the Peruvians with the means of communicating their ideas to one another, and of transmitting them to future generations."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n quipu A cord about 2 feet in length, tightly spun from variously colored threads, and having a number of smaller threads attached to it in the form of a fringe: used among the ancient Peruvians and elsewhere for recording events, etc. The fringe-like threads were also of different colors and were knotted. The colors denoted sensible objects, as white for silver and yellow for gold, and sometimes also abstract ideas, as white for peace and red for war. They constituted a rude register of certain important facts or events, as of births, deaths, and marriages, the number of the population fit-to bear arms, the quantity of stores in the government magazines, etc.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Quipu kē′pōō or kwip′ōō the mnemonic language of coloured and knotted cords used by the Incas of ancient Peru—depending on order, colour, and kind
    • Quipu Also Quip′o
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Peruv. quipu, a knot

Usage

In literature:

This quipu will tell thee, O King.
"Apu Ollantay" by Anonymous
Quipu: Knotted, parti-colored strings used by the ancient Peruvians to keep records.
"Inca Land" by Hiram Bingham
The instrument consisting of these strings and knots was called the QUIPU.
"Travels in Peru, on the Coast, in the Sierra, Across the Cordilleras and the Andes, into the Primeval Forests" by J. J. von Tschudi
Indeed, the word 'quipu' means 'a knot.
"The Red True Story Book" by Various
The quipu is wonderful but he's not wonderful enough, eh?
"The Boy With the U. S. Life-Savers" by Francis Rolt-Wheeler
Compare our account of "the quipu" in Chapter X.
"The Story of Extinct Civilizations of the West" by Robert E. Anderson
Among the ancient Peruvians the message took the form of the curious looking quipu.
"Stories of Useful Inventions" by Samuel Eagle Foreman
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In news:

A khipu (or quipu) was a long, thick "primary cord" to which many pendant strings were attached that themselves could have subsidiary pendants.
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