handsel

or han·sel

[ han-suhl ]
/ ˈhæn səl /

noun

a gift or token for good luck or as an expression of good wishes, as at the beginning of the new year or when entering upon a new situation or enterprise.
a first installment of payment.
the initial experience of anything; first encounter with or use of something taken as a token of what will follow; foretaste.

verb (used with object), hand·seled, hand·sel·ing or (especially British) hand·selled, hand·sel·ling.

to give a handsel to.
to inaugurate auspiciously.
to use, try, or experience for the first time.

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Origin of handsel

First recorded before 1050; Middle English handselne “good-luck token, good-will gift,” Old English handselen “manumission,” literally “hand-gift” (see hand, sell1); cognate with Danish handsel, “earnest money.” The Middle English word was influenced by Old Norse handsal “hand-shake, hand-clasp (for sealing a purchase or a promise).”

OTHER WORDS FROM handsel

un·hand·seled; (especially British) un·hand·selled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for handsel

British Dictionary definitions for handsel

handsel

hansel

archaic, or dialect

noun

a gift for good luck at the beginning of a new year, new venture, etc

verb -sels, -selling or -selled or US -sels, -seling or -seled (tr)

to give a handsel to (a person)
to begin (a venture) with ceremony; inaugurate

Word Origin for handsel

Old English handselen delivery into the hand; related to Old Norse handsal promise sealed with a handshake, Swedish handsöl gratuity; see hand, sell
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