handsel

Noun

  • A lucky omen.
  • A gift given at New Year, or at the start of some enterprise or new situation, meant to ensure good luck.
  • Price, payment; especially the first installment of a series.

Verb

  • To give a handsel to.
  • To inaugurate by means of some ceremony; to break in.
  • To use or do for the first time, especially so as to make fortunate or unfortunate; to try experimentally.

Modern English dictionary

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