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handfast

[hand-fast, -fahst] /ˈhændˌfæst, -ˌfɑst/
noun
1.
Archaic. a covenant or contract, especially a betrothal, usually completed by a handclasp.
Origin
1150-1200
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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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for handfast

handfast

/ˈhændˌfɑːst/
noun
1.
an agreement, esp of marriage, confirmed by a handshake
2.
a firm grip
verb (transitive)
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for handfast
v.

"betroth, bind in wedlock," mid-12c., from Old English handfæsten, from hand (n.) + fast (see fasten). Related: Handfasted; handfasting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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