Word of the Day

Sunday, December 24, 2006

wassail

\WAH-sul; wah-SAYL\ , noun;
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.
adjective:
1.
Of or pertaining to wassail, or to a wassail; convivial; as, a wassail bowl.
transitive verb:
1.
To drink to the health of; a toast.
intransitive verb:
1.
To drink a wassail.
Quotes:
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
Origin:
Wassail is from the Middle English expression of festive benevolence, wæs hæil!, be well!, from Old Norse ves heill, be (ves) well (heill).
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