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British Dictionary definitions for handfasting

handfasting

noun
  1. an archaic word for betrothal
  2. (formerly) a kind of trial marriage marked by the formal joining of hands
  3. a contemporary pagan (esp Wiccan) marriage ceremony
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Examples from the Web for handfasting

Historical Examples

  • The 'handfasting' thus concluded, 'Ye hae forgot the bride ale!'

    Border Ghost Stories

    Howard Pease

  • This custom of handfasting does not seem to have been peculiar to your parish.

  • This consisted of "handfasting" and the exchange of something, even if only a kiss, to bind the bargain.

    Women of England, Volume 9 (of 10)

    Burleigh James Bartlett

  • The marriage was only binding for one year, but if both parties were then satisfied, the "handfasting" was continued for life.

    From John O'Groats to Land's End

    Robert Naylor and John Naylor

  • After the handfasting and making of the contract, the church-going and wedding should not be deferred too long.

    Folk-lore of Shakespeare

    Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer