[ roh-zuh-ree ]
/ ˈroʊ zə ri /

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.


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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rosary

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

Word Origin and History for rosary



"rose garden," mid-15c., from Latin rosarium "rose garden," in Medieval Latin also "garland; string of beads; series of prayers," from noun use of neuter of rosarius "of roses," from rosa "rose" (see rose (n.1)).

The sense of "series of prayers" is 1540s, from Middle French rosaire, a figurative use of the word meaning "rose garden," on the notion of a "garden" of prayers. This probably embodies the medieval conceit of comparing collections to bouquets (cf. anthology and Medieval Latin hortulus animae "prayerbook," literally "little garden of the soul"). Sense transferred 1590s to the strings of beads used as a memory aid in reciting the rosary.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for rosary


[ rōzə-rē ]


An arrangement or structure that is beadlike in appearance.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture 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.