Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
Word of the Day : April 16, 2012

piquant

play
adjective PEE-kunt

Definition

1 : agreeably stimulating to the palate; especially : spicy

2 : engagingly provocative; also : having a lively arch charm

Examples

Reggie's piquant commentary always makes for interesting listening, though sometimes his remarks can go too far.

"Our main courses were preceded by green salads, which were bright and crisp with a suitably piquant balsamic vinegar dressing."- From a review by Irv Dean in The Daily Gazette, February 19, 2012



Did You Know?

Piquant flavors "sting" the tongue and piquant words "prick" the intellect, arousing interest. These varying senses reflect the etymology of the word "piquant," which first appeared in English in the 17th century and which derives from the Middle French verb "piquer," meaning "to sting" or "to prick." Though first used to describe foods with spicy flavors, the word is now often used to describe things that are spicy in other ways, such as engaging conversation. Have we piqued your curiosity about another "piquer" offspring? If you’ve already guessed that the verb "pique," meaning "to offend" or "to arouse by provocation," comes from "piquer," too, you’ve got a sharp mind.

Name That Synonym

What synonym of "piquant" rhymes with "springy"? The answer is ...


Podcast


More Words of the Day