adjective poi·gnant \ˈpi-nyənt sometimes ˈpi(g)-nənt\

: causing a strong feeling of sadness

Full Definition of POIGNANT

:  pungently pervasive <a poignant perfume>
a (1) :  painfully affecting the feelings :  piercing (2) :  deeply affecting :  touching
b :  designed to make an impression :  cutting <poignant satire>
a :  pleasurably stimulating
b :  being to the point :  apt
poi·gnant·ly adverb

Examples of POIGNANT

  1. The photograph was a poignant reminder of her childhood.
  2. <a poignant story of a love affair that ends in tragedy>
  3. … this movie isn't a soft-pedaled, poignant tale of addiction and recovery—it's just about the addiction. —David Crowley, Vibe, June 2001

Origin of POIGNANT

Middle English poynaunt, from Anglo-French poinant, poignant, present participle of poindre to prick, sting, from Latin pungere — more at pungent
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of POIGNANT

pungent, piquant, poignant, racy mean sharp and stimulating to the mind or the senses. pungent implies a sharp, stinging, or biting quality especially of odors <a cheese with a pungent odor>. piquant suggests a power to whet the appetite or interest through tartness or mild pungency <a piquant sauce>. poignant suggests something is sharply or piercingly effective in stirring one's emotions <felt a poignant sense of loss>. racy implies having a strongly characteristic natural quality fresh and unimpaired <spontaneous, racy prose>.

moving, impressive, poignant, affecting, touching, pathetic mean having the power to produce deep emotion. moving may apply to any strong emotional effect including thrilling, agitating, saddening, or calling forth pity or sympathy <a moving appeal for contributions>. impressive implies compelling attention, admiration, wonder, or conviction <an impressive list of achievements>. poignant applies to what keenly or sharply affects one's sensitivities <a poignant documentary on the homeless>. affecting is close to moving but most often suggests pathos <an affecting deathbed reunion>. touching implies arousing tenderness or compassion <the touching innocence in a child's eyes>. pathetic implies moving to pity or sometimes contempt <pathetic attempts to justify misconduct>.


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