- a present for good luck, as at the new year or on the launching of a new business
- a first payment or first installment
- the first money taken in by a new business or on any day of business
- the first use or specimen of anything, regarded as a token of what is to follow
Origin of handselMiddle English handsel from Old English (rare) handselen, a giving into hand and Old Norse handsal, sealing of a bargain by a handclasp (transl. of Classical Latin mancipatio: see emancipation), both from hand + Indo-European base of sell
transitive verb-·seled or -·selled, -·sel·ing or -·sel·ling
- to give a handsel to
- to begin or launch with ceremony and gifts
- to use, do, etc. for the first time
Origin of handselME handsellen < ON handselja
also han·sel Chiefly British
- A gift to express good wishes at the beginning of a new year or enterprise.
- 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.
- a. A first payment.b. A specimen or foretaste of what is to come.
transitive verbhand·seled, hand·sel·ing, hand·sels, or hand·selled hand·sel·ling
- To give a handsel to.
- To launch with a ceremonial gesture or gift.
- To do or use for the first time.
Origin of handselMiddle English hanselle from Old English handselen a handing over ( hand hand ) ( selen gift ) and from Old Norse handsal legal transfer ( hand hand ) ( sal a giving )
- A gift given at New Year, or at the start of some enterprise or new situation, meant to ensure good luck.
- The first installment, or first payment of money in a day or series.
(third-person singular simple present handsels, present participle handselling or handseling, simple past and past participle handselled or handseled)