nosegay

play
noun nose·gay \ˈnōz-ˌgā\

Definition of nosegay

  1. :  a small bunch of flowers :  posy

nosegay was our Word of the Day on 12/25/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of nosegay in a sentence

  1. 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 and Etymology of nosegay

Middle English, from nose nose + gay ornament, literally, something gay, from gay


First Known Use: 15th century


NOSEGAY Defined for English Language Learners

nosegay

play
noun nose·gay \ˈnōz-ˌgā\

Definition of nosegay for English Language Learners

  • : a small bouquet of flowers



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