a small bunch of flowers; bouquet; posy.

Origin of nosegay

1375–1425; late Middle English: literally, a gay (obsolete, something pretty; see gay) for the nose (i.e., to smell) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for nosegay

bouquet, posy, flowers

Examples from the Web for nosegay

Historical Examples of nosegay

  • It would puzzle a gardener to surpass the elegance and delicacy of such a nosegay.

    Aunt Deborah

    Mary Russell Mitford

  • Did you ever read 'Footpaths of Fate,' in the Nosegay series, sir?

    The Girl on the Boat

    Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

  • "Well," said I, "the nosegay is yours at the price," and I held it out to her.

    Simon Dale

    Anthony Hope

  • "I must pay a reckoning for this," I sighed; but since a bargain is a bargain I gave her the nosegay.

    Simon Dale

    Anthony Hope

  • There was a nosegay for each guest, and no two nosegays were alike.

    A Little Country Girl

    Susan Coolidge

British Dictionary definitions for nosegay



a small bunch of flowers; posy

Word Origin for nosegay

C15: from nose + archaic gay a toy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nosegay

"bunch of flowers," early 15c., from nose (n.) + gay in an obsolete noun sense of "gay or bright thing."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper