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POSY (a shortened form of poesy, Fr. pofsie, poetry), a verse of poetry or a motto, either with a moral or religious sentiment or message of love, often inscribed in a ring or sent with a present, such as a bouquet of flowers, which may be the origin of the common use of the word for a nosegay or bouquet.

It has been suggested that this use is due to the custom of the symbolic use of flowers. Skeat quotes the title of a tract (Heber's MSS. No. 1442), " A new yeare's guifte, or a posie made upon certen flowers," etc. " Posy rings," plain or engraved gold rings with a " posy " inscribed on the inside of the hoops, were very frequently in use as betrothal rings from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Common " posies " were such lines as " In thee my choice I do rejoice," " As God decreed so we agreed," and the like. There are several rings of this kind in the British Museum.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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