[ han-suh l ]
/ ˈhæn səl /

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

Definition for hansel (2 of 2)


or han·sel

[ han-suh l ]
/ ˈhæn səl /


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.

Origin of handsel

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


un·hand·seled, adjectiveun·hand·selled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hansel

British Dictionary definitions for hansel (1 of 2)

/ (ˈhænsəl) /

noun, verb

a variant spelling of handsel

British Dictionary definitions for hansel (2 of 2)



archaic, or dialect


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