Tussie-mussie vs nosegay

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Tussie-mussie and nosegay are two words that have similar, but slightly different meanings. We will look at the difference between a tussie-mussie and a nosegay, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A tussie-mussie is a small bouquet of flowers that is carried in a paper cone. The tussie-mussie is an invention of the Victorian Era. Suitors brought tussie-mussies to young ladies filled with flowers symbolizing subtle sentiments, this type of communication was called the language of flowers or floriography. For instance, a pink rose symbolized friendship. A marigold symbolized grief. The origin of the word tussie-mussie is shrouded in mystery, many believe that there was an older word, tus or tusse, which meant a knot of flowers. The correct spelling according to the Oxford English Dictionary is tussie-mussie, note that the word is properly rendered with a hyphen. The spelling tussy-mussy is seen occasionally.

A nosegay is also a small bouquet of flowers that is tied together, originally used as a sweet-smelling way to mask the nasty odors of medieval times. A nosegay is not a gift and it is not placed in a paper cone. The word nosegay is a compound word that means something pleasant or bright for the nose, an accurate description of the original purpose of the nosegay.


Visitors will be able to pose in period clothing for a family portrait, play carnival games, design a collage postcard, watch strolling magicians, create an enchanting tussie-mussie and participate in a Victorian Family sing-along. (The Daily Record)

Old broken jewelry or pieces thereof can be made into a brooch tussy mussy or brooch bouquet comprised of both fresh flowers and colorful fake gemstone pins in the shape of flowers. (The Centre Daily Times)

She carried a nosegay of fresh flowers including roses, calla lilies and peonies in white and ivory. (The Golden Isles News)