nosegay

/nohz"gay'/, n.
a small bunch of flowers; bouquet; posy.
[1375-1425; late ME: lit., a gay (obs., something pretty; see GAY) for the NOSE (i.e., to smell)]

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also called  tussie-mussie , or  posey 

      small, hand-held bouquet popular in mid- 19th-century Victorian England as an accessory carried by fashionable ladies. Composed of mixed flowers and herbs and edged with a paper frill or greens, the arrangement was sometimes inserted into a silver filigree holder. When supplied by an admirer, a nosegay became a vehicle for the floral “language of love”—e.g., a red tulip was a declaration of love; a sprig of dogwood returned by the young lady was a sign of indifference; a variegated pink meant that she rejected her suitor's affection. This variety of bouquet has enjoyed periodic revivals.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • nosegay — ose gay , n. [Nose + gay in the sense of a gay or showy thing.] A bunch of odorous and showy flowers; a bouquet; a posy. Pope. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Nosegay — (engl., spr. nōs gē, »Nasenweide«), eigentlich ein scherzhafter Ausdruck für Blumenstrauß, insbes. für eine duftende Blume im Knopfloch und da nach für den Träger einer solchen, also etwa soviel wie Stutzer, Elegant …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • nosegay — (n.) bunch of flowers, early 15c., from NOSE (Cf. nose) (n.) + GAY (Cf. gay) in an obsolete noun sense of gay or bright thing …   Etymology dictionary

  • nosegay — ► NOUN ▪ a small sweet scented bunch of flowers. ORIGIN from GAY(Cf. ↑gayness) in the obsolete sense «ornament» …   English terms dictionary

  • nosegay — [nōz′gā΄] n. [ NOSE + GAY (in obs. sense of “bright object”)] a bunch of flowers; small bouquet, esp. for carrying in the hand …   English World dictionary

  • nosegay — UK [ˈnəʊzˌɡeɪ] / US [ˈnoʊzˌɡeɪ] noun [countable] Word forms nosegay : singular nosegay plural nosegays old fashioned a small bunch of flowers that you hold in your hand or give to someone …   English dictionary

  • Nosegay — Posy redirects here. For the gossamer winged butterflies, see Drupadia. A nosegay, posey (or posie, posy), flower bouquet or tussie mussie is a small bunch of flowers, typically given as a gift. They have existed in some form since at least… …   Wikipedia

  • nosegay — noun A small bunch of fragrant flowers or herbs, tied in a bundle, often presented as a gift on meeting, and originally intended to be put to the nose for the pleasant sensation, or to mask unpleasant odours. The 80 year old Government Opium and… …   Wiktionary

  • nosegay — noun Etymology: Middle English, from nose nose + gay ornament, literally, something gay, from gay Date: 15th century a small bunch of flowers ; posy …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nosegay — nose·gay (nōzґga) a name applied to an anatomical structure resembling a small bunch of flowers …   Medical dictionary

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