Definition of hansel in English:


Syllabification: han·sel
Pronunciation: /ˈhan(t)səl
(also handsel) archaic or US


1A gift given for good luck at the beginning of the year or to mark an acquisition or the start of an enterprise.
More example sentences
  • This gathering of songs from the Angus-bred singer and fret player from Scots band Malinky is more an assertion of personal identity than a hansel to the glens, Mearns and tenacious coastal townships of his youth.
  • They come on the New Year's Eve, give handsels to children and arrange the party.
  • We donated handsels and small gifts to welfare children and promoted an end-of-the-year fund-raising campaign to support welfare organizations.
1.1The first installment of a payment.

verb (hansels, hanseling, hanseled ; British hansels, hanselling, hanselled)

[with object] Back to top  
1Give a hansel to.
More example sentences
  • 2006 was hanselled with the reappearance of two old friends: the Skye Bridge and the Scottish Parliament construction project.
  • The younger men had "hanselled" their good bargain overwell, and were laughing and talking freely, as they walked up the white road from the haven.
  • Incidentally, the practice of putting some coins in a purse or wallet you buy for someone is called hanselling.
1.1Inaugurate (something), especially by being the first to try it: a floodlit fixture to officially hansel the completed stadium
More example sentences
  • His first chance comes on Tuesday when he hansels the new parliament with a speech outlining the Executive's legislative plans.
  • There were 2632 days between the Accies last game in May 1994 at the old Douglas Park in Hamilton and yesterday's hanseling of the club's new Ballast Stadium with a match against a Sunderland XI.
  • Iain is delighted to have the honour of hanseling the new facilities, and believes it will be an important resource for the island.


Middle English (denoting luck): apparently related to late Old English handselen 'giving into a person's hands', and Old Norse handsal 'giving of the hand to seal a promise', from hand + an element related to sell; the notion of 'luck', however, is not present in these words.

Definition of hansel in:

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walk or travel at a leisurely pace