Flower Information Meaning & Symbolism

The Meanings Behind Famous Floral Sayings

Floral Sayings

Throughout the ages, people have used flower sayings as a way to express themselves—often in adorable ways. One way or another, some of these cutesy floral phrases managed to remain in the common vernacular until today. Heck, I’m sure you can think of a few flower sayings off the top of your head.

But where in the world did these popular flower idioms come from and what exactly do they mean? Well, after some rigorous research, we’ve compiled a short and sweet list that’ll give you a lot more than just the flowery details.

So, without further ado, here are the most famous flower sayings as well as their meanings and history!



Being a bit of a klutz who bumps her knees into furniture and other not-so-soft objects literally all the time, this is a floral phrase that—I hate to say—I’ve used more than once.

That embarrassing point aside, in early 18th century Britain, adults would utter “ups-a-daisy” or “upsy-daisy” when picking a young kid up who had fallen to the ground. It was probably a cute attempt at putting a smile back on a child who had just suffered an accident or boo-boo.

“Ups-a-daisy” eventually became “whoops-a-daisy” or “oops-a-daisy” in the early 1900s—and was used as a way to express surprise or dismay at one’s own error or mistake. And now we’ve even shortened the phrase to “whoops” and “oops”.

“Stop and Smell the Roses”

Life throws a lot of curveballs. And many times those stressful occurrences tend to distract us from living in the moment and cherishing all the good things in our lives—a.k.a. the “roses”. Sure, “stop and smell the roses” is a cliché at this point, but you can’t deny that the truth behind the rose-themed floral phrase isn’t super profound.

According to the legend, two friends were chatting in a rose garden. One of the friends, the owner of the garden, worked so tirelessly keeping it perfect that he never took a moment to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Noticing that, his friend urged him to “stop and smell the roses”.

The true origin of “stop and smell the roses” is unclear, though, since there’s no way to confirm the above legend. Some believe it dates back more than 100 years, while others believe Ringo Starr’s 1981 album of the same name deserves the credit for bringing it into our collective consciousness.

 “Fresh as a Daisy”

Roses and daisies are extremely common in flower sayings. Perhaps that’s because their popularity stands the test of time.

Whatever the case, the idiom “fresh as a daisy” has a pretty clear history and meaning dating back to Old English times. The meaning of “fresh as a daisy” is closely tied to the flower’s abnormal behavior.

Every night, daisies close their petals over their inner eye. When morning arrives, they open back up, ready to take in the sun and conquer the day—hence, people who get a great night’s rest wake up feeling “fresh as a daisy”.

“Pushing Daisies”

While the first few on this list are cheerful and positive in nature, the flower phrase “pushing daisies” is, let’s say, a tad more macabre. Basically, it means that someone is dead and buried.

It’s thought that the phrase “pushing daisies” originated as a slang term used by British soldiers during World War I to refer to their fallen countrymen.

The French equivalent of “pushing daisies” shows up even earlier in Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Miserables. In the novel, a street urchin refers to being deceased as “manger les pissenlits par la racine” or “eating the dandelions by the root”.

“Every Rose Has Its Thorns”

Nothing in life is perfect, and even the most beautiful things have flaws. “Every rose has its thorns” is a poetic way of saying that even roses, despite being admired across generations for their stunning attractiveness, have a downside.

But the floral phrase goes back a lot further than Poison’s 1988 hair metal hit. Despite not knowing exactly when the proverb popped up, the French, Italians, Greeks, Dutch, and Persians all had similar sayings dating back hundreds of years.


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