affixed to a name, abbreviation of Modern Latin Artium Baccalaureus "Bachelor of Arts" (see bachelor), 1773, American English. British English preferred B.A., perhaps because A.B. was used in Britain to mean able-bodied on seamen's papers.
The Latin word also denoted "agency by; source, origin; relation to, in consequence of." Since classical times usually reduced to a- before -m-, -p-, or -v-; typically abs- before -c-, -q-, or -t-.
with year-dates, an occasional Roman method of identifying a given year by reference to the time passed since founding of the city, which in 1c. B.C.E. was calculated to have taken place in what we would call 753 B.C.E. Literally "from the city founded;" the elements are ab "from" (see ab-) + ablative of urbs "city" (see urban) + fem. past participle of condere "put together, store," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see com-) + -dere "put" (from PIE root *dhe- "to put, place").
c. 1200, "toward the rear," a contraction of Old English on bæc "backward, behind, at or on the back;" see a- (1) + back (n.). Now surviving mainly in taken aback, which originally was a nautical expression in reference to a vessel's square sails when a sudden change of wind flattens them back against the masts and stops the forward motion (1754). The figurative sense from this, "suddenly or unexpectedly checked or disappointed," is by 1792.
late 14c., "sand table for drawing, calculating, etc.," also "art of calculating with an abacus," from Latin abacus, from Greek abax (genitive abakos) "counting table, board for drawing," a word of uncertain etymology. It is said to be from a Semitic source, such as Phoenician or Hebrew abaq "sand strewn on a surface for writing," literally "dust," from the Semitic root a-b-q "to fly off," but Beekes and others find this "semantically weak."
Originally a drawing board covered with dust or sand on which mathematical equations or calculations could be traced and erased. In reference to the other type of abacus, a counting frame with beads or balls strung on wires or rods, it is attested from 17c. or later in English. Both types were known in antiquity across Eurasia. Related: Abacist (late 14c.)
late 14c., used in Revelation ix.11 of "the angel of the bottomless pit," and by Milton of the pit itself, from Hebrew Abhaddon, literally "destruction," from abhadh "he perished." The Greek form was Apollyon.