AskDefine | Define nosegay

Dictionary Definition

nosegay n : an arrangement of flowers that is usually given as a present [syn: bouquet, corsage, posy]

User Contributed Dictionary



From nose + gay


  1. 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.


  • 2007 September 11, Donald G. McNeil, Jr., "In India, a Quest to Ease the Pain of the Dying", in The New York Times,
    The 80-year-old Government Opium and Alkaloid Works in Neemuch smells better than it looks. The turfy-chocolaty nosegay of raw opium wafts from hundreds of milk cans.


A small bunch of fragrant flowers or herbs.
  • Finnish: kukkakimppu
  • German: Biedermeiersträußchen, Blumensträußchen, Sträußchen
  • Icelandic: blómvöndur
  • Swedish: blomsterbukett

See also

Extensive Definition

A nosegay, posey (or 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 medieval times, when they were worn around the head or on the lapel to mask the unpleasant smells of the time - literally, to keep the nose gay (to keep the nose happy). In their current form, they rose to popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria, from 1837 onwards, at which time the tussie-mussie became a popular fashion accessory. See the book entitled Tussie-Mussies, the Victorian Art of Expressing Yourself in the Language of Flowers, Workman Publishing, 1993.

See also

nosegay in Danish: Blomsterbuket
nosegay in German: Blumenstrauß
nosegay in Hebrew: זר פרחים
nosegay in Dutch: Boeket (bloemen)
nosegay in Polish: Bukiet (dekoracja)
nosegay in Quechua: Kintu

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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