1. A messenger or crier of a court; a servitor; one who cites or bids persons to appear and answer; called also an apparitor or summoner.
2. An officer in a university, who precedes public processions of officers and students.
in this sense the archaic spellings bedel (Oxford) and bedell (Cambridge) are preserved.
3. An inferior parish officer in England having a variety of duties, as the preservation of order in church service, the chastisement of petty offenders, etc.
Origin: oe. Bedel, bidel, budel, OF. Bedel, f. Bedeau, fr. OHG. Butil, putil, g. Buttel, fr. OHG. Biotan, g. Bieten, to bid, confused with as. Bydel, the same word as OHG. Butil. See. Bid.