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noun \ˈpēk\

Simple Definition of pique

  • : a sudden feeling of annoyance or anger when someone has offended you

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of pique

  1. :  a transient feeling of wounded vanity :  resentment <a fit of pique>

Examples of pique in a sentence

  1. And yet the democracy flourishing in Taiwan has been greeted in other parts of the Chinese-speaking world with a certain pique, and even with hostility. —Ian Buruma, New Republic, 3 Apr. 2000

  2. … when a beast that weighs 1,200 pounds goes crazy with some kind of stupid pique or jealousy in a room not much bigger than the handicapped stall in the Denver airport men's room, bad things will happen … —Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone, 15 Dec. 1994

  3. He hit balls toward the umpire's chair and out of the stadium: he spat water toward the umpire on changeovers; and in still greater fits of pique, he broke three rackets. —Jamie Diaz, Sports Illustrated, 2 Mar. 1987

  4. After a moment of pique, the senator responded calmly to his accusers.

  5. He slammed the door in a fit of pique.

Origin and Etymology of pique

(see 2pique)

First Known Use: 1551

Synonym Discussion of pique

offense, resentment, umbrage, pique, dudgeon, huff mean an emotional response to or an emotional state resulting from a slight or indignity. offense implies hurt displeasure <takes deep offense at racial slurs>. resentment suggests lasting indignation or ill will <harbored a lifelong resentment of his brother>. umbrage may suggest hurt pride, resentment, or suspicion of another's motives <took umbrage at the offer of advice>. pique applies to a transient feeling of wounded vanity <in a pique I foolishly declined the invitation>. dudgeon suggests an angry fit of indignation <stormed out of the meeting in high dudgeon>. huff implies a peevish short-lived spell of anger usually at a petty cause <in a huff he slammed the door>.

offense, sin, vice, crime, scandal mean a transgression of law. offense applies to the infraction of any law, rule, or code <at that school no offense went unpunished>. sin implies an offense against moral or religious law <the sin of blasphemy>. vice applies to a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts <regarded gambling as a vice>. crime implies a serious offense punishable by the law of the state <the crime of murder>. scandal applies to an offense that outrages the public conscience <a career ruined by a sex scandal>.



verb \ˈpēk\

Simple Definition of pique

  • : to cause (curiosity or interest)

  • : to make (someone) annoyed or angry

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of pique



  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to arouse anger or resentment in :  irritate <what piques linguistic conservatives — T. H. Middleton>

  3. 2 a :  to excite or arouse especially by a provocation, challenge, or rebuff <sly remarks to pique their curiosity> b :  pride <he piques himself on his skill as a cook>

Examples of pique in a sentence

  1. The first chorus … stirred my heart, the second piqued my sense of camp and the rest of them had me checking my watch. —David Gates, Newsweek, 4 Mar. 2002

  2. The posthumous revelation of Cheever's alcoholism, numerous infidelities and bisexuality may have piqued interest precisely because he presented himself so earnestly as the Man in the Brooks Brothers Suit. —Mary Gordon, New York Times Book Review, 6 Oct. 1991

  3. Some environments worry that the natural behavior patterns of whales are being altered by tourist boats that pique the animals' curiosity. —Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated, 21 Aug. 1989

  4. In case your interest is being piqued just an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny … bit, the Davis Cup will confuse you totally by calling every competition between contending teams a “tie.” —Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, 11 Apr. 1988

  5. Brightly colored objects pique a baby's interest.

  6. <her seat companion piqued her by repeatedly poking her in the ribs>

Origin and Etymology of pique

French piquer, literally, to prick — more at pike

First Known Use: 1669

Synonym Discussion of pique

provoke, excite, stimulate, pique, quicken mean to arouse as if by pricking. provoke directs attention to the response called forth <my stories usually provoke laughter>. excite implies a stirring up or moving profoundly <news that excited anger and frustration>. stimulate suggests a rousing out of lethargy, quiescence, or indifference <stimulating conversation>. pique suggests stimulating by mild irritation or challenge <that remark piqued my interest>. quicken implies beneficially stimulating and making active or lively <the high salary quickened her desire to have the job>.


noun pi·qué \pi-ˈkā, ˈpē-ˌ\

Definition of piqué

  1. 1 :  a durable ribbed clothing fabric of cotton, rayon, or silk

  2. 2 :  decoration of a tortoiseshell or ivory object with inlaid fragments of gold or silver

Variants of piqué



play \pi-ˈkā, ˈpē-ˌ\

Origin and Etymology of piqué

French piqué, from past participle of piquer to prick, quilt

First Known Use: 1852

Rhymes with piqué

abbé, affray, agley, airplay, airway, aisleway, all-day, allay, allée, Angers, Anhui, archway, array, ashtray, assay, astray, Augier, away, aweigh, backstay, ballet, base pay, bat ray, beignet, belay, beltway, benday, beret, betray, bewray, bidet, bikeway, birthday, Biscay, Bizet, blasé, bobstay, Bombay, Bossuet, bouchée, bouclé, boule, bouquet, Bourget, bourrée, breezeway, Bouvet, Broadway, buffet, byplay, byway, cachet, café, cahier, Cambay, Cathay, causeway, chaîné, chalet, chambray, chassé, child's play, ciré, cliché, congé, convey, co-pay, Corday, corvée, coudé, coupé, crawlway, crochet, croquet, crossway, cube, curé, cy pres, DA, daresay, D-day, death ray, decay, deejay, defray, delay, dengue, dismay, display, distrait, DJ, donnée, doomsday, doorway, dossier, downplay, dragée, driveway, duvet, Earl Grey, embay, épée, essay, estray, Ewe, fair play, fairway, Feuillet, field day, filé, filet, fillet, fireclay, fishway, flambé, flight pay, floodway, flyway, folkway, footway, foray, force play, forebay, foreplay, forestay, formée, forte, fouetté, foul play, Fouquet, four-way, fourchée, foyer, franglais, frappé, freeway, Friday, frieze, fumet, gainsay, Galway, gamay, gangway, gateway, gelée, give way, glacé, godet, gourmet, Green Bay, greenway, guideway, gunplay, hair spray, halfway, hallway, Hannay, harm's way, hatchway, headway, hearsay, Hebei, Hefei, heyday, highway, hold sway, homestay, hooray, horseplay, Hubei, in play, in re, inlay, inveigh, Islay, issei, jackstay, James Bay, jennet, jeté, Jetway, Jolliet, keyway, Kobe, koine, kouprey, lamé, laneway, lay day, leeway, lifeway, Lomé, Lord's day, lwei, lycée, M-day, maguey, mainstay, make hay, Malay, malgré, man-day, Mande, Manet, manqué, margay, massé, match play, maté, May Day, Medway, melee, meze, midday, midway, Midway, Millay, Millet, mislay, misplay, moiré, Monday, Monet, Mornay, name day, Niamey, nisei, noonday, Norway, nosegay, obey, OK, olé, ombré, one-way, osprey, Otway, outlay, outré, outstay, outweigh, oyez, PA, parfait, parkway, parlay, parquet, partway, passé, pâté, pathway, pavé, payday, pearl gray, per se, pince-nez, pipe clay, piquet, pith ray, PK, plié, plissé, pommée, Pompeii, portray, prepay, projet, pulque, puree, purvey, quale, Quesnay, raceway, Rahway, railway, rappee, red bay, relay, repay, replay, risqué, roadway, Roget, role-play, ropeway, rosé, rosebay, Roubaix, roué, routeway, runway, sachet, saint's day, Salé, sansei, sashay, sauté, screenplay, scrub jay, seaway, Shark Bay, shar-pei, shipway, short-day, sick bay, sick day, sick pay, sideway, skyway, slideway, slipway, sluiceway, soigné, soiree, someday, someway, soothsay, soufflé, speedway, spillway, squeeze play, stairway, sternway, stingray, straightway, strathspey, stroke play, subway, Sunday, survey, sweet bay, swordplay, tea tray, tempeh, thoughtway, thruway, Thursday, tideway, today, Tokay, tollway, Torbay, touché, toupee, trackway, tramway, Tuesday, Twelfth Day, two-way, unlay, unsay, valet, V-day, veejay, vide, visé, Vouvray, walkway, waylay, Wednesday, weekday, white way, windway, wood ray, wordplay, workday

PIQUE Defined for Kids


verb \ˈpēk\

Definition of pique for Students



  1. 1 :  to stir up :  excite <The package piqued my curiosity.>

  2. 2 :  to make annoyed or angry

Seen and Heard

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to proceed clumsily or ineffectually

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