1:a gift made as a token of good wishes or luck 2:a first installment: earnest money
At the beginning of the year, some employees will receive handsome monetary handsels.
Did You Know?
According to an old custom in the British Isles, the first Monday of the new year is Handsel Monday, a day to give a small gift or good-luck charm to children or to those who have served you well. As long ago as the year 1200, English-speakers were using the ancestor of "handsel" for any good-luck charm, especially one given at the start of some new situation or condition. By the 1500s, traders were using "handsel" for the first cash they earned in the morning - to them, an omen of good things to follow. Nowadays, it can also be applied to the first use or experience of something, especially when such a use gives a taste of things to come.