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Meaning of handsel

hand•sel

Pronunciation: (han'sul), [key]
— n., v., -seled, -sel•ing -selled, -sel•ling.
—n.
  1. a gift or token for good luck or as an expression of good wishes, as at the beginning of the new year or when entering upon a new situation or enterprise.
  2. a first installment of payment.
  3. the initial experience of anything; first encounter with or use of something taken as a token of what will follow; foretaste.
—v.t.
  1. to give a handsel to.
  2. to inaugurate auspiciously.
  3. to use, try, or experience for the first time.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.