Definition of handfast in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhan(d)fɑːst/


[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.


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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hand|fast

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