One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Engage (someone) to be married.‘she was handfasted to my older brother Lewis’‘they had been handfasted when they were but twelve years old’
- ‘I have a wonderful man who loves me, and we were handfasted this past Summer.’
- ‘Incensed by her rejection he cautioned Agnes that he would force her into marriage by falsely claiming she had handfasted with him.’
- ‘Why in the name of all that is holy did that man handfast to her?’
- ‘I would like to handfast with him tonight, before he leaves on the voyage.’
- ‘Let those who would love one another, and would be as one and bear child, be handfasted.’
- ‘Others vow to handfast for life while a few, in accordance with Pagan beliefs in reincarnation, do so for all their future lives as well.’
- ‘Though Brenna had agreed to handfast with him, he wondered if she might still change her mind.’
- ‘Despite his doubts, when Gemma faces deceipt and danger, Drummond handfasts with her.’
- ‘The man to whom I was handfasted for many years is a gifted blacksmith.’
- ‘A couple may choose to handfast for the traditional period of a year and a day.’
An engagement or marriage contract.‘the only thing that can undo a handfast is a lack of love’
engagement, betrothment, marriage contractView synonyms
- ‘As late as the sixteenth century the issue of a handfast marriage claimed the earldom of Sutherland’
- ‘Since she's naught but an orphan, lacking dowry and family, then you should be content with a handfast.’
- ‘He was the offspring of a handfast union.’
- ‘Handfasts were common in Tudor England.’
- ‘In the Lake District in the sixteenth century a handfast was supposed to last no longer than a year and a day.’
Late Old English: from Old Norse handfesta ‘strike a bargain by joining hands’.
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