Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun One of these sets of decades.
  • noun A string of beads of 5 or 15 decades on which these prayers are counted.
  • noun Similar beads used by other religious groups.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A rose-garden.
  • noun A rose-bush.
  • noun A garland of roses; any garland; a chaplet.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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).
  • noun A string of beads of various sizes representing the same number of aves, paternosters, and glorias respectively, used for marking off these prayers.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A counterfeit coin of base metal, illegally introduced into England in the reign of Edward I.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A bed of roses, or place where roses grow.
  • noun (R.C.Ch.) 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.
  • noun A chapelet; a garland; a series or collection, as of beautiful thoughts or of literary selections.
  • noun A coin bearing the figure of a rose, fraudulently circulated in Ireland in the 13th century for a penny.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any marine gastropod shell of the genus Monodonta. They are top-shaped, bright-colored and pearly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A string of beads used in counting the prayers said in a rosary.
  • noun 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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

Etymologies

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.]

Examples

  • Like the Sanskrit _mala_, the English word rosary at first meant a garland of roses and subsequently a string of beads, probably made from rose-wood, on which prayers were counted.

    The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India - Volume IV of IV Kumhar-Yemkala

  • The rosary is a Biblical prayer method in which you meditate on events during the life of Jesus Christ while reciting certain commonly-known prayers --- two of which, the Our Father and the Hail Mary, are quotations from the Bible.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • The rosary is a Biblical prayer method in which you meditate on events during the life of Jesus Christ while reciting certain commonly-known prayers --- two of which, the Our Father and the Hail Mary, are quotations from the Bible.

    Dear Mr. Obama: Thanks for not Killing Us on Memorial Day

  • The rosary is a devotion that grew up and developed over time until it reached its current standard form.

    A Response to Mir

  • The rosary is a devotion that grew up and developed over time until it reached its current standard form.

    Archive 2007-06-01

  • After a rosary is said by all, the Christ child, usually a life-size doll but occasionally a real baby, is placed on a bed of straw in the Inn. After midnight Mass, there's a fiesta with music, hot fruit punch, sugar cane, oranges, and candy.

    Las Posadas: the nine days of Christmas

  • After a rosary is said by all, the Christ child, usually a life-size doll but occasionally a real baby, is placed on a bed of straw in the Inn. After midnight Mass, there's a fiesta with music, hot fruit punch, sugar cane, oranges, and candy.

    Las Posadas: the nine days of Christmas

  • I call the rosary a "miracle" rosary because all of the meditations deal with the miracles performed by Jesus both before and after his resurrection.

    Christians Promoting...Christianity? And Christmas?!

  • I call the rosary "ecumenical", since the prayers and "miracles" are either directly from the Bible or are derived from the Bible.

    Christians Promoting...Christianity? And Christmas?!

  • "Still, there must be no haggling; in ecclesiastical language 'ten' means ten beads; no doubt ... but I remember very well that after he pronounced the word rosary, the father expressed himself thus: 'you will say ten,' that means ten rosaries, for otherwise he would have specified ten ... of a rosary."

    En Route

Comments

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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