handfast

handfast

[hand-fast, -fahst]
noun
Archaic. a covenant or contract, especially a betrothal, usually completed by a handclasp.

Origin:
1150–1200; Middle English (past participle), earlier handfest < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse handfestr, past participle of handfesta to betroth with a joining of hands, equivalent to hand hand + festa to betroth, literally, make fast, fasten

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World English Dictionary
handfast (ˈhændˌfɑːst)
 
n
1.  an agreement, esp of marriage, confirmed by a handshake
2.  a firm grip
 
vb
3.  to betroth or marry (two persons or another person) by joining the hands
4.  to grip with the hand

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

handfast
"betroth, bind in wedlock," c.1200, from hand + fast (see fasten).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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