- a salutation formerly given in drinking the health of a person, as at a festivity
- the spiced ale or other liquor with which such healths were drunk
- a celebration with much drinking, esp. at Christmastime; carousal
Origin of wassailME, earlier wæs hæil from Old Norse ves heill, literally , be hale, be hearty (replacing Old English wes hal, literally , be whole)
- to drink wassails
- Brit. to go caroling from house to house at Christmastime
- a. A salutation or toast given in drinking someone's health or as an expression of goodwill at a festivity.b. The drink used in such toasting, commonly ale or wine spiced with roasted apples and sugar.
- A festivity characterized by much drinking.
verbwas·sailed, was·sail·ing, was·sails
Origin of wassailMiddle English contraction of wæshæil be healthy from Old Norse ves heill ves imperative sing. of vera to be ; see wes-1 in Indo-European roots. heill healthy ; see kailo- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present wassails, present participle wassailing, simple past and past participle wassailed)
From Old Norse ves heill (“be healthy!"), from the imperative of vesa (“to be") + heill (“healthy"). The earliest documented use of the term is from 1275.