Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to handsel: Daphnae
hand·sel(hănd′səl) also han·sel (hăn′-) Chiefly British
1. A gift to express good wishes at the beginning of a new year or enterprise.
2. 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.
tr.v. hand·seled, hand·sel·ing, hand·sels or hand·selled or hand·sel·ling
1. To give a handsel to.
2. To launch with a ceremonial gesture or gift.
3. To do or use for the first time.
[Middle 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 for good luck at the beginning of a new year, new venture, etc
vb (tr) , -sels, -selling or -selled, -sels, -seling or -seled
1. to give a handsel to (a person)
2. to begin (a venture) with ceremony; inaugurate
[Old English handselen delivery into the hand; related to Old Norse handsal promise sealed with a handshake, Swedish handsöl gratuity; see hand, sell]
n., v. -seled, -sel•ing (esp. Brit.) -selled, -sel•ling. n.
1. a gift or token for good luck, as at the new year or when entering upon a new enterprise.
2. the initial experience of anything; foretaste.
3. a first installment of payment.v.t.
4. to give a handsel to.
5. to inaugurate auspiciously.
6. to use, try, or experience for the first time.
Past participle: handselled