from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A record-keeping device of the Inca empire consisting of a series of variously colored strings attached to a base rope and knotted so as to encode information, used especially for accounting purposes.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A recording device, used by the Incas, consisting of intricate knotted cords.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. 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.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. 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.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. calculator consisting of a cord with attached cords; used by ancient Peruvians for calculating and keeping records
American Spanish, from Quechua kipu.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Cusco-Collao Quechua khipu ("knot") (via Spanish). (Wiktionary)