Wassail Was"sail, n. [AS. wes h[=a]l (or an equivalent form in another dialect) be in health, which was the form of drinking a health. The form wes is imperative. See {Was}, and {Whole}.] [1913 Webster] 1. An ancient expression of good wishes on a festive occasion, especially in drinking to some one. [1913 Webster]

Geoffrey of Monmouth relates, on the authority of Walter Calenius, that this lady [Rowena], the daughter of Hengist, knelt down on the approach of the king, and, presenting him with a cup of wine, exclaimed, Lord king w[ae]s heil, that is, literally, Health be to you. --N. Drake. [1913 Webster]

2. An occasion on which such good wishes are expressed in drinking; a drinking bout; a carouse. ``In merry wassail he . . . peals his loud song.'' --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster]

The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse, Keeps wassail. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

The victors abandoned themselves to feasting and wassail. --Prescott. [1913 Webster]

3. The liquor used for a wassail; esp., a beverage formerly much used in England at Christmas and other festivals, made of ale (or wine) flavored with spices, sugar, toast, roasted apples, etc.; -- called also {lamb's wool}. [1913 Webster]

A jolly wassail bowl, A wassail of good ale. --Old Song. [1913 Webster]

4. A festive or drinking song or glee. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

Have you done your wassail! 'T is a handsome, drowsy ditty, I'll assure you. --Beau. & Fl. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wassail — is a hot, spiced punch often associated with Christmas. Particularly popular in Germanic countries, the term itself is a contraction of the Anglo Saxon term, wæs hæil, meaning, Be healthy .History of the drink While the beverage typically served… …   Wikipedia

  • Wassail — Was sail, a. Of or pertaining to wassail, or to a wassail; convivial; as, a wassail bowl. Awassail candle, my lord, all tallow. Shak. [1913 Webster] {Wassail bowl}, a bowl in which wassail was mixed, and placed upon the table. Spiced wassail bowl …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Wassail — Was sail, v. i. To hold a wassail; to carouse. [1913 Webster] Spending all the day, and good part of the night, in dancing, caroling, and wassailing. Sir P. Sidney. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • wassail — [n] celebration bash*, blast*, blowout*, carousal, ceremony, festival, festivity, frolic, gala, hoopla, hullabaloo*, joviality, jubilee, merriment, merrymaking, party, revelry, shindig*, spree, wingding*; concept 377 wassail [v] celebrate, toast… …   New thesaurus

  • wassail — mid 12c., from O.N. ves heill be healthy, a salutation, from ves, imperative of vesa to be (see WAS (Cf. was)) + heill healthy (see HEALTH (Cf. health)). Use as a drinking phrase appears to have arisen among Danes in England and spread to native… …   Etymology dictionary

  • wassail — archaic ► NOUN 1) spiced ale or mulled wine drunk during celebrations for Twelfth Night and Christmas Eve. 2) lively festivities involving the drinking of much alcohol. ► VERB 1) make merry with much alcohol. 2) go from house to house at… …   English terms dictionary

  • wassail — [wäs′əl, was′əl; wäs′āl΄, was′āl΄] n. [ME, earlier wæs hæil < ON ves heill, lit., be hale, be hearty (replacing OE wes hal, lit., be whole)] 1. a salutation formerly given in drinking the health of a person, as at a festivity 2. the spiced ale …   English World dictionary

  • wassail — 1. noun a) A toast to health, usually at a festival. b) The beverage served during a wassail. 2. verb a) To toast, to …   Wiktionary

  • wassail — UK [ˈwɒseɪl] / US [ˈwɑsl] / US [ˈwɑˌseɪl] verb [intransitive] Word forms wassail : present tense I/you/we/they wassail he/she/it wassails present participle wassailing past tense wassailed past participle wassailed an old word meaning to… …   English dictionary

  • wassail — I. noun Etymology: Middle English wæs hæil, washayl, from Old Norse ves heill be well, from ves (imperativesingular of vera to be) + heill healthy more at was, whole Date: 12th century 1. an early English toast to someone s health 2. a hot drink… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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