Share this entry
handfast Line breaks: hand|fast
Pronunciation: /ˈhan(d)fɑːst/

Definition of handfast in English:


[with object]
Engage (someone) to be married: she was handfasted to my older brother Lewis they had been handfasted when they were but twelve years old
More example sentences
  • Though Brenna had agreed to handfast with him, he wondered if she might still change her mind.
  • Why in the name of all that is holy did that man handfast to her?
  • I would like to handfast with him tonight, before he leaves on the voyage.


Back to top  
An engagement or marriage contract: the only thing that can undo a handfast is a lack of love
More example sentences
  • Since she's naught but an orphan, lacking dowry and family, then you should be content with a handfast.
  • As late as the sixteenth century the issue of a handfast marriage claimed the earldom of Sutherland
  • He was the offspring of a handfast union.


Late Old English: from Old Norse handfesta 'strike a bargain by joining hands'.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources