- 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.
- to give a handsel to.
- to inaugurate auspiciously.
- to use, try, or experience for the first time.
Origin of handsel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for hansel
The folk tale “Hansel and Gretel” originated in these years.When the Weather Went All Medieval: Climate Change, Famine, and Mass Death
June 11, 2014
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters manages to change the fairy tale so that its protagonists are armed like GI Joe.‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ and Hollywood’s Gore Obsession
January 7, 2013
Much like Max, Hansel and Gretel are abandoned by their parents in the forest and forced to fend for themselves.
But I said: 'Hansel and Gretel is one of the scariest stories ever written!
After a few ridiculous barbs, Zoolander flexes his ego, challenging Hansel to a “walk-off.”Billy Zane Opens Up About ‘Titanic,’ ‘Zoolander,’ and the Lost Decade
April 4, 2012
When noon came Grethel shared her bread with Hansel, who had strewn his on the path.
Grethel wept bitterly, and said to Hansel, “What will become of us?”
I am looking at my little dove,” answered Hansel, “nodding a good-by to me.
We cannot get over,” said Hansel; “I can see no bridge at all.
Gretel wept bitterly, and said to Hansel, "What will become of us?"Favorite Fairy Tales
- a variant spelling of handsel
archaic, or dialect
- a gift for good luck at the beginning of a new year, new venture, etc
- to give a handsel to (a person)
- to begin (a venture) with ceremony; inaugurate
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