From Middle English bedel, bidel, from Old English bydel (“warrant officer, apparitor”), from Proto-Germanic *budilaz (“herald”), from Proto-Germanic *beudaną (“to present, offer”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰewdʰ- (“to comprehend, make aware”). Akin to Swedish bödel, Finnish pyöveli, and Old High German butil (“beadle”), (whence German Büttel), Old English bēodan (“to announce”). More at bid.
beadle (plural beadles)
- a parish constable, a uniformed minor (lay) official, who ushers and keeps order
- (Scotland, ecclesiastic) an attendant to the minister
- a warrant officer
- 1789, William Blake, "Holy Thursday"
- 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. - William Blake, "Holy Thursday" (1789)
- 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.
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