wassail

noun
was·​sail | \ ˈwä-səl How to pronounce wassail (audio) also wä-ˈsāl How to pronounce wassail (audio) \

Definition of wassail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an early English toast to someone's health
2 : a hot drink that is made with wine, beer, or cider, spices, sugar, and usually baked apples and is traditionally served in a large bowl especially at Christmastime
3 : riotous drinking : revelry

wassail

verb
wassailed; wassailing; wassails

Definition of wassail (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to indulge in wassail : carouse
2 dialectal, England : to sing carols from house to house at Christmas

transitive verb

: to drink to the health or thriving of

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for wassail

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

Verb

The salutation wassail, from the Old Norse toast ves heill ("be well"), has accompanied English toast-making since the 12th century. By the 13th century, wassail was being used for the drink itself, and it eventually came to be used especially of a hot drink (of wine, beer, or cider with spices, sugar, and usually baked apples) drunk around Christmastime. This beverage warmed the stomachs and hearts of many Christmas revelers and was often shared with Christmas carolers. The verb wassail was first used in the 14th century to describe the carousing associated with indulgence in the drink; later, it was used of other activities associated with wassail and the holiday season, like caroling. Seventeenth-century farmers added cattle and trees to the wassail tradition by drinking to their health or vitality during wintertime festivities.

Examples of wassail in a Sentence

Noun woke up with a terrible headache from a wild wassail the night before Verb the knights feasted and wassailed for three days after the battlefield victory
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Here, a recipe for wassail, a British mulled punch, from the new Official Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook, available to order now. The Official Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook, Town & Country, "How to Make a Downton Abbey-Inspired Christmas Wassail," 4 Nov. 2020 Later, after singing carols by the Christmas tree, everyone helps themselves, ladling wassail into their glass cups. The Official Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook, Town & Country, "How to Make a Downton Abbey-Inspired Christmas Wassail," 4 Nov. 2020 Doors open 45 minutes before to enjoy wassail punch and cookies. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Everyone’s favorite fibber marks milestone birthday: Valley Views," 16 Dec. 2019 Doors open 45 minutes before to enjoy wassail punch and cookies. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Everyone’s favorite fibber marks milestone birthday: Valley Views," 16 Dec. 2019 Doors open 45 minutes before to enjoy wassail punch and cookies. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Everyone’s favorite fibber marks milestone birthday: Valley Views," 16 Dec. 2019 Doors open 45 minutes before to enjoy wassail punch and cookies. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Everyone’s favorite fibber marks milestone birthday: Valley Views," 16 Dec. 2019 Doors open 45 minutes before to enjoy wassail punch and cookies. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Everyone’s favorite fibber marks milestone birthday: Valley Views," 16 Dec. 2019 Doors open 45 minutes before to enjoy wassail punch and cookies. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Everyone’s favorite fibber marks milestone birthday: Valley Views," 16 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Reisinger's Apple Country, located in Watkins Glen on Seneca Lake, also has a wassailing event on the horizon. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian Magazine, "New York’s Cideries Bring the Tradition of Wassailing to the Finger Lakes," 20 Jan. 2018 There was toasting and wassailing all around And cinnamon sticks in yule logs were wrapped and bound. Marc Bona, cleveland.com, "Great Lakes Brewing's Christmas Ale First Pour party is here (photos, video)," 26 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wassail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of wassail

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for wassail

Noun

Middle English wæs hæil, washayl, from Old Norse ves heill be well, from ves (imperative singular of vera to be) + heill healthy — more at was, whole

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wassail

Time Traveler for wassail

Time Traveler

The first known use of wassail was in the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about wassail

Statistics for wassail

Cite this Entry

“Wassail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wassail. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wassail

wassail

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wassail

old-fashioned : a hot alcoholic drink that is traditionally served in a large bowl especially at Christmastime

More from Merriam-Webster on wassail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wassail

Nglish: Translation of wassail for Spanish Speakers

Comments on wassail

What made you want to look up wassail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!