Bea"dle (?), n. [OE. bedel, bidel, budel, OF. bedel, F. bedeau, fr. OHG. butil, putil, G. buttel, fr. OHG. biotan, G. bieten, to bid, confused with AS. bydel, the same word as OHG. butil. See. Bid, v.]

1.

A messenger or crier of a court; a servitor; one who cites or bids persons to appear and answer; -- called also an apparitor or summoner.

2.

An officer in a university, who precedes public processions of officers and students. [Eng.]

⇒ In this sense the archaic spellings bedel (Oxford) and bedell (Cambridge) are preserved.

3.

An inferior parish officer in England having a variety of duties, as the preservation of order in church service, the chastisement of petty offenders, etc.

 

© Webster 1913.

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