Part of speech: noun
Origin: Old English or Old Norse
A gift given for good luck
An initial payment
Examples of Handsel in a sentence
"My new business partner gave me a thoughtful handsel — she framed the first dollar we'd made — on our first week working together."
"We had to pay a handsel before the landlord would reserve the apartment for us."
Popularity Over Time
A handsel is a gift meant to express good luck or good fortune. Handsel can also be used as a verb, meaning “to give a handsel to” or “to inaugurate.” This latter definition bears the same connotation of goodwill as the noun form.
Did you Know?
Handsel Monday is an old (and, in some places, still active) Scottish tradition that occurred on the first Monday after New Year’s Day. People gave each other gifts as a sign of goodwill for the coming year. To this day, handsels are commonly associated with the new year.