handsel was our Word of the Day on 10/20/2009. Hear the podcast!
Examples of handsel in a sentence
gave little handsels to their houseguests on New Year's Day
Did You Know?
According to an old custom in the British Isles, the first Monday of the new year is Handsel Monday, a day to give a small gift or good luck charm to children or to those who have served you well. As long ago as the year 1200, English speakers were using the ancestor of handsel for any good luck charm, especially one given at the start of some new situation or condition. By the 1500s, traders were using handsel for the first cash they earned in the morning - to them, an omen of good things to follow. Nowadays, it can also be used for the first use or experience of something, especially when such a use gives a taste of things to come.
Origin and Etymology of handsel
Middle English hansell
First Known Use: 14th century
Definition of handsel
1 : to give a handsel to
2 : to inaugurate with a token or gesture of luck or pleasure
3 : to use or do for the first time
First Known Use of handsel
Learn More about handsel
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for handsel
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up handsel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).