From Middle English bede (“a prayer”), also “a bead for counting prayers” in a peire of bedes (literally “a pair of beads”), from Old English bedu, bed, ġebed (“a request, entreaty, prayer”), from Proto-Germanic *bedō, *bedą, *gabedą (“plea, prayer”). Cognate with Dutch bede and gebed (“a prayer”) German Gebet (“a prayer”). More at bede.
bead (plural beads)
- (archaic) Prayer, later especially with a rosary. [from 9c.]
- Each in a string of small balls making up the rosary or paternoster. [from 14c.]
- A small round object.
- A small round object with a hole to allow it to be threaded on a cord or wire. [from 15c.]
- A small round solid object.
- A small drop of water or other liquid. [from 16c.]
- A bubble, in spirits.
- A small round ball at the end of a barrel of a gun used for aiming.
- (heading) A ridge, band, or molding.
- A rigid edge of a tire that mounts it on a wheel; tire bead. [from 20c.]
- (architecture) A narrow molding with semicircular section.
- Knowledge sufficient to direct one's activities to a purpose.
- (chemistry, dated) A glassy drop of molten flux, as borax or microcosmic salt, used as a solvent and color test for several mineral earths and oxides, as of iron, manganese, etc., before the blowpipe.
- Front sight of a gun.
bead (third-person singular simple present beads, present participle beading, simple past and past participle beaded)
- (intransitive) To form into a bead.
- (transitive) To apply beads to.
- (transitive) To form into a bead.
- (transitive) To cause beads to form on (something).