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

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.

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 Doenjang, an earthy, piquant soybean paste, is the basis of its namesake stew and is also a key ingredient in ssam sauce for KBBQ lettuce wraps. Jane Sung, Condé Nast Traveler, "Everything You Need to Bring Korean Cooking Into Your Kitchen," 1 June 2020 But the sleeper hit of this spread is a small bowl of refried beans — velvety, aromatic, savory, and piquant, a silky, seamless fusion of garlic, chilies, spices, and earthy black beans. TheWeek, "How Oaxacan refried beans steal the show," 12 Apr. 2020 No beer better exemplifies its style than Boont Amber Ale, with its delicious tension between sweet, malty caramel and piquant, citrusy bitterness. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "Results are in for The Chronicle’s Northern California Beer Hall of Fame class of 2020," 6 Feb. 2020 An example of small but nonetheless piquant news: Administration lawyers came up with a nickname for Matthew Whitaker, the former acting attorney general. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "A Meticulous Account of Trump’s Tenure Reads Like a Comic Horror Story," 16 Jan. 2020 The junipers' oily aroma overwhelmed even our own piquant reek. John Phillips, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1995 Land Rover Defender 90 Goes Nowhere, Man," 24 Mar. 2020 Even in more placid days — like her summers in Provincetown — Sagalyn’s work is piquant, with renderings of spiky piers, fishing boats, and spiny fish. BostonGlobe.com, "Now, at 94, her work is the subject of a solo show, her first ever, at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.," 11 Oct. 2019 Other options include fino sherry, a surprisingly good match with piquant dishes, and lean, dry sauvignon blancs like those from the Loire Valley of France. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "Putting the Fried in Fried Rice," 21 Feb. 2020 The inability of the Narendra Modi government to solve the problem of bad loans, which have only increased under its tenure, has created a piquant situation. Jayati Ghosh, Quartz India, "India must raise public spending, but it may be too much to expect from Budget 2020," 28 Jan. 2020

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

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The first known use of piquant was in 1616

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Last Updated

13 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Piquant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piquant. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for piquant


How to pronounce piquant (audio) How to pronounce piquant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of piquant

: having a pleasant, spicy taste
: interesting and exciting

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More from Merriam-Webster on piquant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for piquant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with piquant

Spanish Central: Translation of piquant

Nglish: Translation of piquant for Spanish Speakers

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