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.]
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.
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.
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.