pi·​quant | \ ˈpē-kənt How to pronounce piquant (audio) , -ˌkänt; ˈpi-kwənt How to pronounce piquant (audio) \

Definition of piquant

1 : engagingly provocative also : having a lively arch charm
2 : agreeably stimulating to the taste especially : spicy

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Other Words from piquant

piquantly adverb
piquantness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for piquant



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Choose the Right Synonym for piquant

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

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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.

Examples of piquant in a Sentence

piquant vegetables seasoned with pepper He served the fish with a piquant sauce. a piquant bit of gossip
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Recent Examples on the Web But social distancing regulations meant that Lime Cordiale’s piquant pop songs, snazzy horn arrangements, and kazoo solos were heard by a room of just 70 fans. Poppy Reid, Rolling Stone, "Live From the Trans-Tasman Bubble: How Australia Brought Concerts Back," 4 May 2021 Richard Greene, despite his objections to biographical prurience, does give us some piquant details. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, "Graham Greene’s Dark Heart," 15 Mar. 2021 Simultaneously sugary and piquant, aromatic and earthy, this terrific cocktail keeps you guessing in a good way. Joanna O'leary, Chron, "Houston's best spring gin cocktails," 23 Apr. 2021 Vairavan was born in Chettinad, a region in Southern India known for its piquant cuisine. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Looking beyond curry to kootu and korma," 5 Apr. 2021 Globs of tartar sauce that taste like the stuff of your youth — creamy, classic and piquant — ooze out of every crevice. Jenn Harris Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "The fried fish sandwich gets an upgrade at these L.A. restaurants," 24 Mar. 2021 Aspects of the networking code, suffice to say that the influx of players brought some very piquant problems to light in that department. Reece Rogers, Wired, "Valheim Is Changing How We Play Survival Games," 2 Mar. 2021 For example, the Goan Masala needs only coconut milk and broth to form a soup both piquant and creamy. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "Soothing Winter Soup Recipes," 27 Feb. 2021 Ground five spice is also often served mixed with salt and used as a piquant condiment to accompany barbecue dishes. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "For Maximum Flavor, Make These Spice Blends at Home," 22 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'piquant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of piquant

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for piquant

Middle French, from present participle of piquer

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Time Traveler for piquant

Time Traveler

The first known use of piquant was in 1616

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Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Piquant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piquant. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for piquant



English Language Learners Definition of piquant

: having a pleasant, spicy taste
: interesting and exciting

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Nglish: Translation of piquant for Spanish Speakers

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