Definition of beadle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbiːd(ə)l/


1British A ceremonial officer of a church, college, or similar institution.
Example sentences
  • We also hear of a beadle in 1389 (this may have been when the office was created), a nightwatchman in 1406, and a clerk may be inferred from the recording of the electoral courts; however, these officers were appointed, not elected.
  • The verbal announcement of auctions by beadles, often accompanied by bells and drums, was common in both town and country.
  • Yet Oliver did want more; he knew what would land in his plate, if the beadle consented to his request, but he asked anyway.
1.1Scottish A church officer attending on the minister.
Example sentences
  • Meanwhile in Scotland, the old-beadle died and his son succeeded him, eking out a modest living by selling tea and tobacco.
  • He states that he remembers an old beadle of the church which was called "Haddo's Hole," and sometimes the "Little Kirk," in Edinburgh, whose son occasionally officiated as precentor.
  • The Beadle (leader) commands "Gentlemen raise your tartans".
1.2 historical A minor parish officer dealing with petty offenders.
Example sentences
  • Also, they ordain that there be two beadles in the borough, sworn to make all attachments and distraints, and carry out all orders from bailiffs, coroners and capital portmen which ought to be done in the borough.
  • At the same meeting new ballival elections were held (September being a common month for towns to hold elections) and the incumbents were re-elected; beadles and the collectors of tolls were also elected.
  • A beadle was appointed to remove drunk and disorderly people from the streets, particularly on Sundays and he acted as an official presence to maintain order in the parish.


Old English bydel 'a person who makes a proclamation', gradually superseded in Middle English by forms from Old French bedel, ultimately of Germanic origin; related to German Büttel, also to bid1. Compare with bedel.

Words that rhyme with beadle

bipedal, credal, needle, wheedle

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bea¦dle

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