(redirected from wassailers)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


 (wŏs′əl, wŏ-sāl′)
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.
2. A festivity characterized by much drinking.
v. was·sailed, was·sail·ing, was·sails
To drink to the health of; toast.
To engage in or drink a wassail.

[Middle English, contraction of wæshæil, be healthy, from Old Norse ves heill : ves, imperative sing. of vera, to be; see wes- in Indo-European roots + heill, healthy; see kailo- in Indo-European roots.]

was′sail·er n.
Word History: Wassail is an English holiday drink consisting of spiced mulled wine, ale, or some other fermented beverage such as hard cider or mead. The word is also used as a verb: to drink someone's health, especially in the course of traveling around one's neighborhood, singing songs at neighbors' houses and receiving food and drink in return, is to wassail—as in the traditional carol "Here We Come A-Wassailing."¶Both the noun wassail and its associated verb come from one of the most popular expressions used in medieval England in toasting someone's health. The Middle English toast Wæshæil! comes from the Old Norse salutation Ves heill! which had been brought to Britain by the invading Danes in the 9th Century ad. The Anglo-Saxons, for their part, had a corresponding salutation, Wes þū hāl! which they used as a general greeting—variations of it can be found in Beowulf (Wæs þū, Hroðgar, hāl! says the young hero when he meets King Hrothgar) and in the West Saxon Gospels (at the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel greets Mary with Hāl wes þū!).¶These greetings and toasts literally mean "Be healthy!"—a sentiment that survives in the Modern English toast To your health! and in many toasts in other languages, such as the Spanish Salud! and the French Santé! which both simply mean "health." The Old English hāl, incidentally, means not only "healthy" (it is the origin of Modern English hale) but also "undamaged, entire" (it is also the origin of the word whole).


1. (Brewing) (formerly) a toast or salutation made to a person at festivities
2. (Brewing) a festivity when much drinking takes place
3. (Brewing) alcoholic drink drunk at such a festivity, esp spiced beer or mulled wine
4. (Anglicanism) the singing of Christmas carols, going from house to house
5. (Music, other) archaic a drinking song
6. (Brewing) to drink the health of (a person) at a wassail
7. (Anglicanism) (intr) to go from house to house singing carols at Christmas
[C13: from Old Norse ves heill be in good health; related to Old English wes hāl; see hale1]
ˈwassailer n


(ˈwɒs əl, -eɪl, ˈwæs-, wɒˈseɪl)

1. (in early England) a salutation offered when presenting a cup of drink to a person or when drinking that person's health.
2. a festivity or revel with drinking of healths.
3. liquor, as hot spiced ale or wine, used in drinking another's health, esp. at Christmastime.
4. to revel with drinking.
5. to toast (a person).
[1175–1225; Middle English was-hail=was be (Old English wæs, variant of wes, imperative of wesan to be; akin to was) + hail hale1, in good health (< Old Norse heill hale)]
was′sail•er, n.


Past participle: wassailed
Gerund: wassailing

I wassail
you wassail
he/she/it wassails
we wassail
you wassail
they wassail
I wassailed
you wassailed
he/she/it wassailed
we wassailed
you wassailed
they wassailed
Present Continuous
I am wassailing
you are wassailing
he/she/it is wassailing
we are wassailing
you are wassailing
they are wassailing
Present Perfect
I have wassailed
you have wassailed
he/she/it has wassailed
we have wassailed
you have wassailed
they have wassailed
Past Continuous
I was wassailing
you were wassailing
he/she/it was wassailing
we were wassailing
you were wassailing
they were wassailing
Past Perfect
I had wassailed
you had wassailed
he/she/it had wassailed
we had wassailed
you had wassailed
they had wassailed
I will wassail
you will wassail
he/she/it will wassail
we will wassail
you will wassail
they will wassail
Future Perfect
I will have wassailed
you will have wassailed
he/she/it will have wassailed
we will have wassailed
you will have wassailed
they will have wassailed
Future Continuous
I will be wassailing
you will be wassailing
he/she/it will be wassailing
we will be wassailing
you will be wassailing
they will be wassailing
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been wassailing
you have been wassailing
he/she/it has been wassailing
we have been wassailing
you have been wassailing
they have been wassailing
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been wassailing
you will have been wassailing
he/she/it will have been wassailing
we will have been wassailing
you will have been wassailing
they will have been wassailing
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been wassailing
you had been wassailing
he/she/it had been wassailing
we had been wassailing
you had been wassailing
they had been wassailing
I would wassail
you would wassail
he/she/it would wassail
we would wassail
you would wassail
they would wassail
Past Conditional
I would have wassailed
you would have wassailed
he/she/it would have wassailed
we would have wassailed
you would have wassailed
they would have wassailed
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.wassail - a punch made of sweetened ale or wine heated with spices and roasted appleswassail - a punch made of sweetened ale or wine heated with spices and roasted apples; especially at Christmas
punch - an iced mixed drink usually containing alcohol and prepared for multiple servings; normally served in a punch bowl
Verb1.wassail - celebrate noisily, often indulging in drinkingwassail - celebrate noisily, often indulging in drinking; engage in uproarious festivities; "The members of the wedding party made merry all night"; "Let's whoop it up--the boss is gone!"
fete, celebrate - have a celebration; "They were feting the patriarch of the family"; "After the exam, the students were celebrating"
carouse, roister, riot - engage in boisterous, drunken merrymaking; "They were out carousing last night"
2.wassail - propose a toast towassail - propose a toast to; "Let us toast the birthday girl!"; "Let's drink to the New Year"
give - propose; "He gave the first of many toasts at the birthday party"
honor, honour, reward - bestow honor or rewards upon; "Today we honor our soldiers"; "The scout was rewarded for courageous action"


(archaic) [ˈwɒseɪl]
A. N (= drink) → cerveza f especiada; (= festivity) → juerga f, fiesta f de borrachos
B. VIbeber mucho


(Brit, old)
(= toast)Trinkspruch m; wassail cupKelch m
(= revelry)Gelage nt
(= revel)zechen, ein Gelage abhalten
to go wassailing (= carol-singing)˜ als Sternsinger gehen
References in classic literature ?
In the mean-while all the shore rang with the trump of bullfrogs, the sturdy spirits of ancient wine-bibbers and wassailers, still unrepentant, trying to sing a catch in their Stygian lake -- if the Walden nymphs will pardon the comparison, for though there are almost no weeds, there are frogs there -- who would fain keep up the hilarious rules of their old festal tables, though their voices have waxed hoarse and solemnly grave, mocking at mirth, and the wine has lost its flavor, and become only liquor to distend their paunches, and sweet intoxication never comes to drown the memory of the past, but mere saturation and waterloggedness and distention.
Wassailers moved from house to house singing and drinking.
On Saturday North East songsters Voice Male and the Coquet Wassailers will perform traditional, folk and folk-inspired Christmas music and on Sunday Coquetdale Chamber Choir will give a programme of music and poetry for Advent.
It's a tradition originated by the Anglo-Saxon wassailers.
In sooth he was a shameless wight, Sore given to revel and ungodly glee; Few earthly things found favour in his sight Save concubines and carnal companie, And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree.
The village green was the obvious place to play, but the doorsteps of the gentry always brought in more cash, and here the Mummers jostled for position, alongside the Wassailers and the carol singers.