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[beed-l] /ˈbid l/
a parish officer having various subordinate duties, as keeping order during services, waiting on the rector, etc.
sexton (def 2).
Origin of beadle
before 1000; Middle English bedel, dial. (SE) variant of bidel, Old English bydel apparitor, herald (cognate with German Büttel), equivalent to bud- (weak stem of bēodan to command) + -il noun suffix
Related forms
subbeadle, noun
underbeadle, noun


[beed-l] /ˈbid l/
George Wells, 1903–1989, U.S. biologist and educator: Nobel Prize in Medicine 1958. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for beadle
Historical Examples
  • He was ordered to take it off, and when he refused, it was removed by a beadle.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor W. Llewelyn Williams.
  • The same functionary has given the name Haybittle, a compound of beadle.

    The Romance of Names Ernest Weekley
  • The beadle, whose curiosity was excited, waited a little, and looked after them.

  • He was then led by a beadle into an adjoining room, and the door locked.

    Historic Boyhoods Rupert Sargent Holland
  • Sir Ludar, with a grim smile, locked up the beadle in his place, and flung the key into the pond.

    Sir Ludar Talbot Baines Reed
  • Why should a beadle be comic, and his opposite a charity boy?

    George Cruikshank William Makepeace Thackeray
  • He looked on his cabinet uniform as a beadle looks on his gold lace.

    Ernest Maltravers, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Her hair, was it quaintly curly,Or as straight as a beadle's wand?

  • The beadle, as he marshals them before the altar, sees something under the surface in this wedding-party.

    Miss or Mrs.? Wilkie Collins
  • Next moment we were standing in the street which led to beadle Square.

    My Friend Smith Talbot Baines Reed
British Dictionary definitions for beadle


(formerly, in the Church of England) a minor parish official who acted as an usher and kept order
(in Scotland) a church official attending on the minister
(Judaism) a synagogue attendant See also shammes
an official in certain British universities and other institutions
Derived Forms
beadleship, noun
Word Origin
Old English bydel; related to Old High German butil bailiff


George Wells. 1903–89, US biologist, who shared the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine in 1958 for his work in genetics
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beadle

Old English bydel "herald, messenger from an authority, preacher," from beodan "to proclaim" (see bid). Sense of "warrant officer, tipstaff" was in late Old English; that of "petty parish officer," which has given the job a bad reputation, is from 1590s. French bédeau (Old French bedel, 12c.) is a Germanic loan-word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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beadle in Medicine

Beadle Bea·dle (bēd'l), George Wells. 1903-1989.

American biologist. He shared a 1958 Nobel Prize for discovering how genes transmit hereditary characteristics.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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