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 nosegays

bouquet, posy, flowers

Examples from the Web for nosegays

Historical Examples of nosegays

  • It was half an hour later than she had expected when Clare carried her nosegays into the hall.

    Clare Avery

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • Then Aleck and I had to present our nosegays, which were, of course, greatly praised.

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

    A Little Country Girl

    Susan Coolidge

  • The gardener brings me a tray of flowers, and I make the nosegays for the day.

  • The poles were pranked with nosegays, and a chaplet was hung round the horns of every ox.

    Harold, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for nosegays



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 nosegays



"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