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Named for the action of Hansel (and Gretel) from "Hansel and Gretel," the Grimms' fairy tale, as they dropped stones or bread, in turn, to mark their path through the forest.

Forms may include: Hanseling (or lower case, hanseling), a verb; to hansel, a verb; or Proper noun, Hansel (meaning one who drops carelessly in described manner, or any variation of such).

Hanseling is the term used when items, carelessly or purposely, are dropped (possibly in a meandering or careless path-like manner) as a man or boy walks; Greteling is the identical term when a woman or girl walks and drops items in similar manner.

So there is the male version: Hanseling. The female version: Greteling. Either caps or lowercase: Hanseling or hanseling; Greteling or greteling.

The term was initially used years ago when small boys would fail to stay put at meals, and would carry their meals or snacks around the house, haphazardly dropping crumbs or chunks of food in paths around the house.
The term not only includes eating and dropping crumbs, but can broadly include dropping any item (such as clothes, paper, trash, etc.), often in an unthinking or inconsiderate manner.

It can further include not wiping ones' feet at the door, and hanseling mud throughout the home. Etc.
Stop the messes Hansel! No more hanseling around the house eating handfuls of Fruity Pebbles!
by Candycasa November 24, 2009
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