See also: Beadle


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Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English bedel, bidel, from Old English bydel (warrant officer, apparitor), from Proto-Germanic *budilaz (herald), equivalent to bid +‎ -le. Cognate with Dutch beul, German Büttel. More at bid.



beadle (plural beadles)

  1. a parish constable, a uniformed minor (lay) official, who ushers and keeps order
  2. (Scotland, ecclesiastic) an attendant to the minister
  3. a warrant officer


Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two in red and blue and green:
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames waters flow.
  • 1853, Charles Dickens, Bleak House, ch 11:
    The beadle ... generally understood in the neighbourhood to be a ridiculous institution ... The policeman considers him an imbecile civilian, a remnant of the barbarous watchmen times, but gives him admission as something that must be borne with until government shall abolish him.
  • 1929, Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own, Penguin Books, paperback edition, page 8
    His face expressed horror and indignation. Instinct rather than reason came to my help; he was a Beadle; I was a woman.

Derived termsEdit


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