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Uncommon Knowledge: What does your nosegay say about you?

Is your nosegay sweet and sentimental? Seeking for glory? Or out for revenge? And why such a strange name for a seemingly innocent little bouquet of flowers? The word originated in the 15th century, when the term “gay” meant “ornament.” So a nosegay is a decoration designed to appeal to the nose as much as the eyes. The Victorians, however, were ready to sniff out all kinds of meaning from their bouquets. Each flower had its own meaning, and could be combined into elaborate, symbolic messages. We still accept that a red rose means “passion” or “romance,” but you could also use amaranth for “eternal love,” jasmine for “unconditional love,” and jonquil as a cry of unrequited love. Not all nosegays were romantic, however. Asphodel signaled regret, begonia was a warning, and red clover symbolized an industrious nature. Wishing to end a relationship? Present your companion with a bouquet of “cold-hearted” lettuce.

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Written by Nathan

Nathan is a copywriter, who helps create our product descriptions as well as our weekly emails. He is also a nationally award-winning musical theater writer, whose work includes an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver. Nathan has also been a classical violinist, tutored Kazakhstani jewelers in entrepreneurship, created large-scale games played across entire city blocks, served as a missionary in South Korea, conducted experiments in sonoluminescence, co-founded an exotic fruit-growing business, was a theater critic for Tucson Weekly, and as a teenager composed a women’s jazz quartet that is currently performed around the world.

1 Comment

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