Feb. 17th, 2017

handsel

Feb. 17th, 2017 07:55 am
prettygoodword: text: words are sexy (Default)
handsel or hansel (HAN-suhl) - n., a gift for good luck at the beginning of a new year, new venture, and so on; the first payment received at a new business or at the start of the new year; the first installment on a payment; a specimen or foretaste of what's to come. v., to give a handsel to; to inaugurate auspiciously; to use, try, or experience for the first time.


A housewarming gift counts as an example, as does money given to a new graduate. Around here, the first dollar taken in by a store or restaurant is sometimes framed and put on display. In Scotland, the first Monday of each year was celebrated as the holiday of Handsel Monday (and in rural areas, there's Auld Handsel Monday, the first Monday after January 12, approximating the old Julian calendar date), though this was eventually supplanted by Boxing Day. Dates back to Old English handselen, delivery into the hand (from hand, hand + selen, gift), which is related to Old Norse handsal, promise sealed with a handshake, and modern Swedish handsöl, gratuity/tip.

---L.

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