• synonyms


[beedz-muh n]
noun, plural beads·men. Archaic.
  1. a person who prays for another as a duty, especially when paid.
  2. an inmate of a poorhouse; almsman.
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Origin of beadsman

1200–50; bead's man man of prayer; replacing Middle English bedeman. See bead, 's1, man1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for beadsman

Historical Examples

  • A beadsman was an inmate of an almshouse who was bound to pray for the founders of the house.

    English Narrative Poems


  • Henry followed the beadsman, who hurried on towards Falconcleugh.

  • What can be better touched than the figures of the beadsman and the old nurse Angela?

    Life of John Keats

    Sidney Colvin

  • Henry's silence was probably meant as a quickener of the beadsman's garrulity.

  • The one lair, as a beadsman of Pittenweem, you may have experienced ere now; the other you stand in small fears of.

British Dictionary definitions for beadsman



noun plural -men
  1. a person who prays for another's soul, esp one paid or fed for doing so
  2. a person kept in an almshouse
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for beadsman


"one who prays for another's benefit," early 13c.; see bead (n.) + man (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper