Word of the Day Archive
Monday December 25, 2000
wassail \WAH-sul; wah-SAYL\
1. An expression of good wishes on a festive occasion, especially in drinking to someone.
2. An occasion on which such good wishes are expressed in drinking; a drinking bout; a carouse.
3. The liquor used for a wassail; especially, 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.
1. Of or pertaining to wassail, or to a wassail; convivial; as, a wassail bowl.
1. To drink to the health of; a toast.
1. To drink a wassail.
Christmas often means plum pudding, fruitcake, roast goose and wassail.
-- Florence Fabricant, "Recipes to Summon the Holiday Spirit", New York Times, December 21, 1988
But have you ever tried to spear a buffalo after a hard night at theold wassail bowl?
-- Gore Vidal, The Smithsonian Institution
Wassail is from the Middle English expression of festive benevolence, wæs hæil!, be well!, from Old Norse ves heill, be (ves) well (heill).