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Handsel

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Handsel

1. A sale, gift, or delivery into the hand of another; especially, a sale, gift, delivery, or using which is the first of a series, and regarded as on omen for the rest; a first installment; an earnest; as the first money received for the sale of goods in the morning, the first money taken at a shop newly opened, the first present sent to a young woman on her wedding day, etc. Their first good handsel of breath in this world. (Fuller) Our present tears here, not our present laughter, Are but the handsels of our joys hereafter. (Herrick)

2. Price; payment. Handsel Monday, the first Monday of the new year, when handsels or presents are given to servants, children, etc.

Origin: oe. Handsal, hansal, hansel, as. Handslena giving into hands, or more prob. Fr. Icel. Handsal; hand hand _ sal sale, bargain; akin to as. Sellan to give, deliver. See sell, Sale.