bead

Bead \Bead\ (b[=e]d), n. [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. pei`qein 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. See {Bid}, in to bid beads, and {Bide}.] 1. A prayer. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 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 be at one's beads}, {to bid beads}, etc., meaning, to be at prayer. [1913 Webster] 3. Any small globular body; as, (a) A bubble in spirits. (b) A drop of sweat or other liquid. ``Cold beads of midnight dew.'' --Wordsworth. (c) A small knob of metal on a firearm, used for taking aim (whence the expression to draw a bead, for, to take aim). (d) (Arch.) A small molding of rounded surface, the section being usually an arc of a circle. It may be continuous, or broken into short embossments. (e) (Chem.) 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; as, the borax bead; the iron bead, etc. [1913 Webster] {Bead and butt} (Carp.), framing in which the panels are flush, having beads stuck or run upon the two edges. --Knight. {Bead 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. [Written also {bead mould}.] {Bead tool}, a cutting tool, having an edge curved so as to make beads or beading. {Bead tree} (Bot.), a tree of the genus {Melia}, the best known species of which ({Melia azedarach}), has blue flowers which are very fragrant, and berries which are poisonous. [1913 Webster]