1. A prayer.
2. A little perforated ball, to be strung on a thread, and worn for ornament; or used in a rosary for counting prayers, as by roman Catholics and Mohammedans, whence the phrases to tell beads, to at one’s beads, to bid beads, etc, meaning, to be at prayer.
3. Any small globular body; as, a bubble in spirits.
a drop of sweat or other liquid. Cold beads of midnight dew. .
a small knob of metal on a firearm, used for taking aim (whence the expression to draw a bead, for, to take aim).
(Science: chemistry) a glassy drop of molten flux, as borax or microcosmic salt, used as a solvent and colour test for several mineral earths and oxides, as of iron, manganese, etc, before the blowpipe; as, the borax bead; the iron bead, etc. Bead and butt, framing in which the panels are flush, having beads stuck or run upon the two edges. Beat mold, a species of fungus or mold, the stems of which consist of single cells loosely jointed together so as to resemble a string of beads.
alternative forms: bead mould bead tool, a cutting tool, having an edge curved so as to make beads or beading.
(Science: botany) bead tree, a tree of the genus Melia, the best known species of which (M. Azedarach), has blue flowers which are very fragrant, and berries which are poisonous.
Origin: oe. Bede prayer, prayer bead, as. Bed, gebed, prayer; akin to D. Bede, g. Bitte, as. Biddan, to ask, bid, g. Bitten to ask, and perh. To gr. To persuade, L. Fidere to trust. Beads are used by the roman Catholics to count their prayers, one bead being dropped down a string every time a prayer is said. Cf. Sp. Cuenta bead, fr. Contar to count.