I have a friend who keeps going on and on lately about "wassail" and "wassailing" and I have no idea what she's talking about. Sometimes she uses it as a verb, as in, "I'm going to do some wassailing this weekend" and sometimes as a noun, such as "I'm going to have some wassail." Can Ask Gothamist clarify what she is talking about?
- Wondering about Wassail
Ask Gothamist loves wassail, and wassailing! This fascinating word has numerous meanings, and can indeed be used in both noun and verb form. Dictionary.com lists several meanings for wassail. Essentially, wassail is a holiday drink (typically spiced apple cider with or without alchohol, or a mulled wine); while to wassail is to drink (said drink) or carouse in a festive manner. Wassailing can also refer to the singing of jolly songs, and a wassail can also be a festive song. So, wassailing involves drinking, singing, and merry-making, while a wassail is a festive drink or song.
According to this wassail website,
The word wassail is from the Anglo-Saxon “waes hae,” meaning “be hale or be well.” There are three medieval English customs of wassailing whereby good health, prosperous crops and healthy animals are wished for one and all with the aid of this spiced apple drink.