Definition of nosegay
: a small bunch of flowers : posy
nosegay was our Word of the Day on 12/25/2010. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of nosegay in a Sentence
a stately procession of bridesmaids holding small nosegays
Recent Examples of nosegay from the Web
If the idea of a bouquet isn't totally your thing, opt for something small; the smallest clutch of blooms, in industry speak, is called a nosegay.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nosegay'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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 centurySee Words from the same year
NOSEGAY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of nosegay for English Language Learners
: a small bouquet of flowers
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