Housel was, until the Reformation, the name of the Eucharist in the English language. The meaning of the word is "sacrifice," and "hunsl" appears in the Ulfilas Gothic version of Matthew : "I will have mercy and not sacrifice."

The word's etymology is uncertain. The New English Dictionary connects it with a Teutonic stem meaning "holy," from which is derived the Lithuanian "szweñtas", and Latvian "swéts". Skeat points a connection with a root meaning "to kill," which may connect it with Greek "kaínein".


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  • Housel — Hou sel, n. [OE. housel, husel, AS. h[=u]sel; akin to Icel. h[=u]sl, Goth. hunsl a sacrifice.] The eucharist. [Archaic] Rom. of R. Tennyson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Housel — Hou sel, v. t. [AS. h[=u]slian.] To administer the eucharist to. [Archaic] Chaucer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • housel — [hou′zəl] n. [ME < OE husel, akin to Goth hunsl, a sacrifice < Gmc * k̑un s lo < IE base * k̑wen , to sanctify] Obs. EUCHARIST vt. Obs. to give the Eucharist to …   English World dictionary

  • housel — 1. noun /ˈhaʊzəl/ the Eucharist 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. 2. verb /ˈhaʊzəl/ to administer the Eucharist …   Wiktionary

  • Housel —    An old English word for the Holy Eucharist. Thus an old English canon of A.D. 960 orders every Priest to give housel (i.e. Holy Communion) to the sick when they need it. The word also appears in Chaucer s Canterbury Tales, in Piers Plowman,… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • housel — I. noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hūsel sacrifice, Eucharist; akin to Gothic hunsl sacrifice Date: before 12th century archaic the Eucharist or the act of administering or receiving it II. transitive verb Date: before 12th… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • housel — /how zeuhl/, n., v., houseled, houseling or (esp. Brit.) houselled, houselling. Archaic. n. 1. the Eucharist. 2. the act of administering or receiving the Eucharist. v.t. 3. to administer the Eucharist to. [bef. 900; (n.) ME; OE husl the… …   Universalium

  • Housel — Holy communion; the administration of the consecrated host at the *eucharist …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • housel — the eucharist; the act of taking the eucharist Ecclesiastical Terms …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • housel — v. a. == to administer the Sacrament to a person. RG. 392. AS. husl …   Oldest English Words

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