from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Roman Catholic Church A form of devotion to the Virgin Mary, chiefly consisting of three sets of five decades each of the Hail Mary, each decade preceded by the Lord's Prayer and ending with a doxology.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church One of these sets of decades.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church A string of beads of 5 or 15 decades on which these prayers are counted.
  • n. Similar beads used by other religious groups.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A series of prayers, usually made up of five, fifteen, or twenty decades of Hail Marys, each decade beginning with Our Father and ending with a Glory Be to the Father, sometimes including other prayers used in Roman Catholicism, and the Anglican, Lutheran, and Old Catholic churches.
  • n. A string of beads used in counting the prayers said in a rosary.
  • n. this sense?) A string of beads used in praying by members of some religions or denominations other than Roman Catholicism such as the Anglican Church

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A bed of roses, or place where roses grow.
  • n. A series of prayers (see Note below) arranged to be recited in order, on beads; also, a string of beads by which the prayers are counted.
  • n. A chapelet; a garland; a series or collection, as of beautiful thoughts or of literary selections.
  • n. A coin bearing the figure of a rose, fraudulently circulated in Ireland in the 13th century for a penny.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A rose-garden.
  • n. A rose-bush.
  • n. A garland of roses; any garland; a chaplet.
  • n. Hence, an anthology; a book culled from various authors, like a garland of flowers: formerly often given as a title to works of such a character.
  • n. A string of beads carried about the person, either for mere pastime, as to occupy the fingers, or for reckoning, especially in numbering the prayers offered up at fixed times of the day.
  • n. Specifically, in the Roman Catholic Church: A series of devotions consisting of a specified number of aves (that is, salutations to the Virgin Mary), of paternosters (that is, repetitions of the Lord's Prayer), and of glorias (or doxologies).
  • n. A string of beads of various sizes representing the same number of aves, paternosters, and glorias respectively, used for marking off these prayers.
  • n. A string of eggs of a batrachian wound about the body or limbs, as of the nurse-frog or obstetrical toad, Alytes obstetricans. See cut under Alytes. E. D. Cope.
  • n. A counterfeit coin of base metal, illegally introduced into England in the reign of Edward I.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a string of beads used in counting prayers (especially by Catholics)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, rose garden, from Medieval Latin rosārium, rose garden, rosary, from Latin, rose garden, from neuter of rosārius, of roses, from rosa, rose.



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  • I hadn't seen the "rose garden" sense before, but there it is.

    we were having photographs taken in the rosary outside Rosecliff Mansion
    Bryan Garner, Nino and Me (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018), ch. 6

    January 22, 2018