[ wos-uh l, -eyl, was-, wo-seyl ]
/ ˈwɒs əl, -eɪl, ˈwæs-, wɒˈseɪl /


a salutation wishing health to a person, used in England in early times when presenting a cup of drink or when drinking to the person.
a festivity or revel with drinking of healths.
liquor for drinking and wishing health to others on festive occasions, especially spiced ale, as on Christmas Eve and Twelfth-night.
Archaic. a song sung in wassailing.

verb (used without object)

to revel with drinking.

verb (used with object)

to drink to the health or success of; toast.

Origin of wassail

1175–1225; Middle English was-hail, equivalent to was be (Old English wæs, variant of wes, imperative of wesan to be; akin to was) + hail hale1, in good health (< Old Norse heill hale); replacing Old English wæs hāl be hale or whole. See whole, heal


was·sail·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for wassail

British Dictionary definitions for wassail

/ (ˈwɒseɪl) /



to drink the health of (a person) at a wassail
(intr) to go from house to house singing carols at Christmas

Derived forms of wassail

wassailer, noun

Word Origin for wassail

C13: from Old Norse ves heill be in good health; related to Old English wes hāl; see hale 1
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