wassail(redirected from wassails)
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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.]
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]
was•sail(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.v.i.
4. to revel with drinking.v.t.
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)]
Past participle: wassailed
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|Noun||1.||wassail - 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
|Verb||1.||wassail - 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"
|2.||wassail - 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"