- a parish officer having various subordinate duties, as keeping order during services, waiting on the rector, etc.
- sexton(def 2).
- George Wells,1903–1989, U.S. biologist and educator: Nobel Prize in Medicine 1958.
- (formerly, in the Church of England) a minor parish official who acted as an usher and kept order
- (in Scotland) a church official attending on the minister
- Judaism a synagogue attendantSee also shammes
- an official in certain British universities and other institutions
- George Wells . 1903–89, US biologist, who shared the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine in 1958 for his work in genetics
Old English bydel “herald, messenger from an authority, preacher,” from beodan “to proclaim” (see bid). Sense of “warrant officer, tipstaff” was in late Old English; that of “petty parish officer,” which has given the job a bad reputation, is from 1590s. French bédeau (Old French bedel, 12c.) is a Germanic loan-word.
- American biologist. He shared a 1958 Nobel Prize for discovering how genes transmit hereditary characteristics.