wassail

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

was·sail / ˈwäsəl; -ˌsāl/ archaic • n. spiced ale or mulled wine drunk during celebrations for Twelfth Night and Christmas Eve. ∎  lively and noisy festivities involving the drinking of plentiful amounts of alcohol; revelry. • v. 1. [intr.] drink plentiful amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way. 2. go from house to house at Christmas singing carols: here we go a-wassailing. DERIVATIVES: was·sail·er n. ORIGIN: Middle English wæs hæil ‘be in (good) health!’: from Old Norse ves heill (compare with hail2 ). The drinking formula wassail (and the reply drinkhail ‘drink good health’) were probably introduced by Danish-speaking inhabitants of England, and then spread, so that by the 12th cent. the usage was considered by the Normans to be characteristic of Englishmen.

views updated

wassail spiced ale or mulled wine drunk during celebrations for Twelfth Night and Christmas Eve; lively and noisy festivities involving the drinking of plentiful amounts of alcohol; revelry. The word comes from Middle English wæs hæil ‘be in (good) health’, from Old Norse ves heill. The drinking formula wassail (and the reply drinkhail ‘drink good health’) were probably introduced by Danish-speaking inhabitants of England, and then spread, so that by the 12th century the usage was considered by the Normans to be characteristic of Englishmen.

views updated

wassail •hangnail • treenail • hobnail •doornail • toenail • thumbnail •fingernail •handrail, landrail •cantrail • guard rail • Israel • contrail •monorail • abseil • headsail • resale •skysail • wassail • topsail • foresail •wholesale • lugsail • wagtail •tattletale • fantail • bangtail •rat's-tail • telltale •detail, retail •pigtail • bristletail • pintail •ringtail, springtail •fishtail • ponytail • hightail • bobtail •cocktail • cottontail •foxtail, oxtail •horsetail • folktale • swallowtail •dovetail • shirt tail • travail

views updated

wassail salutation used when presenting drink to a guest or drinking his health XIII (wæs hæil, wassayl, -ail; after XIV only hist. and dial.); liquor for drinking healths; carousal XVII. — ON. ves heill ‘be in good health’ (see HALE1).

views updated

wassail. Old Eng. term for jovial and convivial song which often occurs in Christmas carols.

views updated

wassail
1. Spiced ale, drunk especially on festive occasions.

2. Salutation or toast drunk to a person's health.