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Rosary beads

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English rosarie, from Latin rosārium, here in its sense as a garland of roses. The coin usage referred to the laurel wreath appearing on the obverse bust, as opposed to the bare head on the pollard. Doublet of Rosario and rosarium.


  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɹoʊzəɹi/
    • (file)


rosary (plural rosaries)

  1. Prayer beads, a string of beads used to keep track of repetitions in prayer, particularly in the Roman Catholic Marian prayer "Hail Mary" (Ave Maria)
  2. A Roman Catholic devotion involving the repetition of a series of Marian prayers, usually 5, 15, or 20 decades of "Hail Marys", each decade beginning with "Our Father" and ending with "Glory Be to the Father", but sometimes including other Roman Catholic, Anglican, or Lutheran prayers.
  3. (by extension) A series or collection of thoughts, literary pieces, etc. intended for similar contemplation.
    • 1655, Jeremy Taylor, “The Golden Grove; or, A Manual of Daily Prayers and Litanies, Fitted to the Days of the Week. []: Agenda; or, Things to Be Done”, in Reginald Heber, editor, The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D. [], volume XV, London: Ogle, Duncan, and Co. []; and Richard Priestley, [], published 1822, →OCLC, section I, page 32:
      Every day propound to yourself a rosary or a chaplet of good works, to present to God at night.
  4. (historical numismatics) A 13th-century coin minted in Europe as a counterfeit debased form of the sterling silver penny of Edward I, at first accepted as a halfpenny and then outlawed.
  5. A rose garden.


  • psalter (150-bead rosary for use with the Psalms)

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