[ roh-zuh-ree ]
/ ˈroʊ zə ri /
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noun, plural ro·sa·ries.
Roman Catholic Church.
  1. a series of prayers, usually consisting of 15 decades of aves, each decade being preceded by a paternoster and followed by a Gloria Patri, one of the mysteries or events in the life of Christ or the Virgin Mary being recalled at each decade.
  2. a string of beads used for counting these prayers during their recitation.
  3. a similar string of beads consisting of five decades.
(among other religious bodies) a string of beads similarly used in praying.
a rose garden or a bed of roses.
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Origin of rosary

1350–1400 for earlier sense; 1400–50 for sense “rose garden”; 1540–50 for def. 1; Middle English rosarie<Medieval Latin rosārium, in all current senses, Latin: rose garden, equivalent to ros(a) rose1 + -ārium-ary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use rosary in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rosary

/ (ˈrəʊzərɪ) /

noun plural -saries
RC Church
  1. a series of prayers counted on a string of beads, usually consisting of five or 15 decades of Aves, each decade beginning with a Paternoster and ending with a Gloria
  2. a string of 55 or 165 beads used to count these prayers as they are recited
(in other religions) a similar string of beads used in praying
a bed or garden of roses
an archaic word for garland (def. 1)

Word Origin for rosary

C14: from Latin rosārium rose garden, from rosārius of roses, from rosa rose 1
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

Cultural definitions for rosary


A set of prayers common in the Roman Catholic Church, said during meditation on events in the lives of Jesus and of Mary, the mother of Jesus. A rosary is also the string of beads that the worshiper uses to count the prayers.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.