noun, plural rosaries.
Roman Catholic Church.
a series of prayers, usually consisting of 15 decades of aves, each decade being preceded by a paternoster and followed by a Gloria Patri, one of the mysteries or events in the life of Christ or the Virgin Mary being recalled at each decade.
a string of beads used for counting these prayers during their recitation.
a similar string of beads consisting of five decades.
(among other religious bodies) a string of beads similarly used in praying.
a rose garden or a bed of roses.

1350–1400 for earlier sense; 1400–50 for sense “rose garden”; 1540–50 for def 1; Middle English rosarie < Medieval Latin rosārium, in all current senses, Latin: rose garden, equivalent to ros(a) rose1 + -ārium -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
rosary (ˈrəʊzərɪ)
n , pl -saries
1.  RC Church
 a.  a series of prayers counted on a string of beads, usually consisting of five or 15 decades of Aves, each decade beginning with a Paternoster and ending with a Gloria
 b.  a string of 55 or 165 beads used to count these prayers as they are recited
2.  (in other religions) a similar string of beads used in praying
3.  a bed or garden of roses
4.  an archaic word for garland
[C14: from Latin rosārium rose garden, from rosārius of roses, from rosarose1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1440, "rose garden," from L. rosarium "rose garden," from neut. of rosarius "of roses," from rosa "rose" (see rose). The sense of "series of prayers" is 1547, from M.Fr. rosaire, a figurative use of the word meaning "rose garden," on the notion of a "garden" of prayers. This
embodies the medieval conceit of comparing collections to bouquets (cf. anthology and M.L. hortulus animæ, "prayerbook," lit. "little garden of the soul"). Sense transf. 1597 to the strings of beads used as a memory aid in reciting the rosary.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

rosary ro·sa·ry (rō'zə-rē)
An arrangement or structure that is beadlike in appearance.

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

rosary definition

A set of prayers common in the Roman Catholic Church, said during meditation on events in the lives of Jesus and of Mary, the mother of Jesus. A rosary is also the string of beads that the worshiper uses to count the prayers.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
At once rosary beads were flourished to prove our right to answer this question affirmatively.
The use of colored rosary beads and other religious articles have also been noted.
Family rosary every night and all that sort of thing.
She made her way down the aisle toward her grandson, a rosary in her trembling hands.
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