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See also: Housel


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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English housel, from Old English hūsl (housel, Eucharist, the Host, a sacrifice), from Proto-Germanic *hunslą (sacrifice), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱwen- (holy). Cognate with Icelandic húsl (housel), Gothic 𐌷𐌿𐌽𐍃𐌻 (hunsl, sacrifice, offering), Proto-Slavic *svętъ (holy, sacred) (OED).

The OED cites usage of the noun from the 10th to the 17th century. 19th century use is deliberately archaizing. The verb is attested from the 11th century, and in occasional usage persists into the 19th.



  1. (archaic) the Eucharist
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses
      She said that he had a fair sweet death through God His goodness with mass-priest to be shriven, holy housel and sick men’s oil to his limbs.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English houselen, from Old English hūslian (to administer the sacrament), from Proto-Germanic *hunslōną (to sacrifice, offer), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱwen- (holy). Cognate with Icelandic húsla (to housel), Old Swedish húsla (to administer the Eucharist to), Gothic 𐌷𐌿𐌽𐍃𐌻𐌾𐌰𐌽 (hunsljan, to offer, sacrifice).


housel (third-person singular simple present housels, present participle houseling or houselling, simple past and past participle houseled or houselled)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To administer the Eucharist to.
  2. (transitive, rare) To prepare for a journey.
    • 1750, Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher, Mr. Theobald (Lewis), The Works of Francis Beaumont, and Mr. John Fletcher:
      So housel all our hackneys that they may feel Compunction in their feet, and tire at Highgate.


Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


huese +‎ -el.


housel m (oblique plural houseaus or houseax or housiaus or housiax or housels, nominative singular houseaus or houseax or housiaus or housiax or housels, nominative plural housel)

  1. small boot