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
Recent Examples on the WebUnlike pesto, this sauce does not emulsify; keep it loose — and deliciously piquant — with a dash of caper brine, if necessary.
Chris Morris, BostonGlobe.com, 1 July 2022 The documents evoked, in granular detail, the terror of life under Russian occupation, as well as its piquant absurdities.
New York Times, 24 May 2022 Tremolos are everywhere, in luxuriant strings and piquant winds and skittering percussion.
Charles Mcnultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2022 Tremolos are everywhere, in luxuriant strings and piquant winds and skittering percussion.
Charles Mcnultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2022 Underneath all those savory elements is a steady pulse of caramelly sweetness, a counterweight to salty soy and piquant chiles.
Chris Morocco, Bon Appétit, 8 June 2022 With its own hilarious version of that Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial and piquant references to QAnon, Charlottesville and Jan. 6, there’s no shortage of zippy quips and flying elbows.
Inkoo Kang, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 This time, the jalapeños are pickled, and their piquant jab rounds out the sweet juiciness of the fruit.
Cesar Hernandez, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 May 2022 Tremolos are everywhere, in luxuriant strings and piquant winds and skittering percussion.
Charles Mcnultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2022 See More
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.