One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in some British universities) an official with largely ceremonial duties.
- ‘The university marshal arrived with the six ‘bedels,’ who are proctors carrying long silver rods to intimidate unruly undergraduates into better behavior.’
- ‘Whilst wishing to pay tribute to the work of the present bedels, I will not accept, as your representative to the college officers, bedels who are ill-trained and uncommitted to the safety of this college.’
- ‘At Oxford there are four bedels, representing the faculties of law, medicine, arts and divinity.’
- ‘The Esquire Bedels were superior to others in standing and provided the inferior bedels with food and shoes.’
- ‘This role cannot have been of such scarce importance, given that bedels were expected to be able to read Latin, to shoulder certain important responsibilities, and on occasion even to stand in for the notary when he fell absent.’
Late Middle English: archaic spelling of beadle.
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