American Dictionary of the English Language

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BEAD, noun

1. A little perforated ball, to be strung on a thread, and worn about the neck, for ornament. A string of beads is called a necklace. Beads are made of gold, pearl, amber, steel, garnet, coral, diamond, crystal, pastes, glasses, etc. The Romanists use strings of beads in rehearsing their prayers. Hence the phrase, to tell beads, and to be at one's beads, is to be at prayer.

2. Any small globular body; hence the glass globules, used in traffic with savages, and sold in strings, are called beads; also a bubble on spirit.

3. In architecture, a round molding, commonly made upon the edge of a piece of stuff, in the Corinthian and Roman orders, cut or carved in short embossments, like beads in necklaces.of beads, is a charge given by a priest to his parishioners, to repeat certain pater-nosters upon their beads for a departed soul.