wassail[ wos-uh l, -eyl, was-, wo-seyl ]SEE DEFINITION OF wassail
EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR WASSAIL
Wassail is equivalent to the phrase, "Your health," of the present day.
Wassail and Drinkhail are both derived from the Anglo-Saxon.
The rafters of the great living-room shook with the roar of wassail and of song.
The wassail bowl was a triumph, and the candle of Mr. Pickwick was put out.
It was past midnight when I withdrew from the scene of wassail.
Where is the silver plate—the wassail bowls and our silver-gilt chargers?
To whom it was answered by Hengist, that Wassail, what it signifieth.
"Till we meet beside the wassail board, make you merry," she said then.
The knight dropped his wassail cup and sprang to the assistance of the ladies.
Now, as then, the company was defeating tedium with wassail.
mid-12c., from Old Norse ves heill "be healthy," a salutation, from ves, imperative of vesa "to be" (see was) + heill "healthy" (see health). Use as a drinking phrase appears to have arisen among Danes in England and spread to native inhabitants. A similar formation appears in Old English wes þu hal, but this is not recorded as a drinking salutation. Sense extended c.1300 to "liquor in which healths were drunk," especially spiced ale used in Christmas Eve celebrations. Meaning "a carousal, reveling" first attested c.1600. Wassailing "custom of going caroling house to house at Christmas time" is recorded from 1742.