Simple Definition of nosegay
: a small bouquet of flowers
Full Definition of nosegay
: a small bunch of flowers : posy
Examples of nosegay in a sentence
<a stately procession of bridesmaids holding small nosegays>
Did You Know?
Nosegay is a homegrown word - that is, it originated in English. Fifteenth-century Middle English speakers joined "nose" (which meant then what it does today) with "gay" (which at the time meant "ornament"). That makes "nosegay" an appropriate term for a bunch of flowers, which is indeed an ornament that appeals to the nose. Today the word nosegay is especially common in the bridal business, where it usually refers to a specific type of bouquet: a round, tight bunch of flowers as opposed to a cascading bouquet or other type of arrangement. Occasionally, the word is used metaphorically for things that somehow resemble a bouquet. For example, a compact collection of enjoyably lighthearted short stories might be called "a nosegay of a book."
Origin of nosegay
Middle English, from nose nose + gay ornament, literally, something gay, from gay
First Known Use: 15th century
Rhymes with nosegay
abbé, affray, agley, airplay, airway, aisleway, all-day, allay, allée, Angers, Anhui, archway, array, ashtray, assay, astray, Augier, away, aweigh, backstay, ballet, base pay, bat ray, beignet, belay, beltway, benday, beret, betray, bewray, bidet, bikeway, birthday, Biscay, Bizet, blasé, bobstay, Bombay, Bossuet, bouchée, bouclé, boule, bouquet, Bourget, bourrée, breezeway, Bouvet, Broadway, buffet, byplay, byway, cachet, café, cahier, Cambay, Cathay, causeway, chaîné, chalet, chambray, chassé, child's play, ciré, cliché, congé, convey, co-pay, Corday, corvée, coudé, coupé, crawlway, crochet, croquet, crossway, cube, curé, cy pres, DA, daresay, D-day, death ray, decay, deejay, defray, delay, dengue, dismay, display, distrait, DJ, donnée, doomsday, doorway, dossier, downplay, dragée, driveway, duvet, Earl Grey, embay, épée, essay, estray, Ewe, fair play, fairway, Feuillet, field day, filé, filet, fillet, fireclay, fishway, flambé, flight pay, floodway, flyway, folkway, footway, foray, force play, forebay, foreplay, forestay, formée, forte, fouetté, foul play, Fouquet, four-way, fourchée, foyer, franglais, frappé, freeway, Friday, frieze, fumet, gainsay, Galway, gamay, gangway, gateway, gelée, give way, glacé, godet, gourmet, Green Bay, greenway, guideway, gunplay, hair spray, halfway, hallway, Hannay, harm's way, hatchway, headway, hearsay, Hebei, Hefei, heyday, highway, hold sway, homestay, hooray, horseplay, Hubei, in play, in re, inlay, inveigh, Islay, issei, jackstay, James Bay, jennet, jeté, Jetway, Jolliet, keyway, Kobe, koine, kouprey, lamé, laneway, lay day, leeway, lifeway, Lomé, Lord's day, lwei, lycée, M-day, maguey, mainstay, make hay, Malay, malgré, man-day, Mande, Manet, manqué, margay, massé, match play, maté, May Day, Medway, melee, meze, midday, midway, Midway, Millay, Millet, mislay, misplay, moiré, Monday, Monet, Mornay, name day, Niamey, nisei, noonday, Norway, obey, OK, olé, ombré, one-way, osprey, Otway, outlay, outré, outstay, outweigh, oyez, PA, parfait, parkway, parlay, parquet, partway, passé, pâté, pathway, pavé, payday, pearl gray, per se, pince-nez, pipe clay, piqué, piquet, pith ray, PK, plié, plissé, pommée, Pompeii, portray, prepay, projet, pulque, puree, purvey, quale, Quesnay, raceway, Rahway, railway, rappee, red bay, relay, repay, replay, risqué, roadway, Roget, role-play, ropeway, rosé, rosebay, Roubaix, roué, routeway, runway, sachet, saint's day, Salé, sansei, sashay, sauté, screenplay, scrub jay, seaway, Shark Bay, shar-pei, shipway, short-day, sick bay, sick day, sick pay, sideway, skyway, slideway, slipway, sluiceway, soigné, soiree, someday, someway, soothsay, soufflé, speedway, spillway, squeeze play, stairway, sternway, stingray, straightway, strathspey, stroke play, subway, Sunday, survey, sweet bay, swordplay, tea tray, tempeh, thoughtway, thruway, Thursday, tideway, today, Tokay, tollway, Torbay, touché, toupee, trackway, tramway, Tuesday, Twelfth Day, two-way, unlay, unsay, valet, V-day, veejay, vide, visé, Vouvray, walkway, waylay, Wednesday, weekday, white way, windway, wood ray, wordplay, workday
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up nosegay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).