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Definition of "handsel" [hand•sel]

  • A gift to express good wishes at the beginning of a new year or enterprise. (noun)
  • The first money or barter taken in, as by a new business or on the opening day of business, especially when considered a token of good luck. (noun)
  • A first payment. (noun)
  • A specimen or foretaste of what is to come. (noun)
  • To give a handsel to. (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "handsel" in a sentence
  • "What a handsel is this dead hound, after I had rejoiced in its weight266!"
  • "He would instantly give him a 'handsel' of harrying to stay his proud stomach."
  • "“But these gentlemen,” said Trois Eschelles, looking towards the chimney, “do not these help, and so take a handsel of our vocation?”"