- "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 medieval times, when they were carried or worn around the head or bodice 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. Typically, tussie-mussies include floral symbolism from the Language of Flowers, and therefore may be used to send a message to the recipient. See the book entitled Tussie-Mussies, the Victorian Art of Expressing Yourself in the Language of Flowers, Workman Publishing, 1993.
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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 — /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)] * * * ▪ floral decoration also called tussie mussie , or posey small, hand held… … Universalium
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