poi·​gnan·​cy | \ ˈpȯi-nyən(t)-sē How to pronounce poignancy (audio) , sometimes ˈpȯi(g)-nən(t)-sē \
plural poignancies

Definition of poignancy

1 : the quality or state of being poignant
2 : an instance of poignancy

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of poignancy in a Sentence

there was a poignancy to his wit that often left his targets smarting
Recent Examples on the Web But the main attraction remains Stone, who puts across the character’s intelligence, wit, self-awareness and self-doubt with charm and poignancy. Jason Bailey, New York Times, "The 10 Best Titles Leaving Netflix This Month," 1 Feb. 2021 There was a certain sense of poignancy when Harris, the first female, Black and Asian American vice president, appeared at the memorial honoring those lost to COVID-19 on Jan. 19 in a camel coat by Kerby Jean-Raymond for Pyer Moss. Cady Lang, Time, "‘Someone Needs to Take a Stand Like That.’ The Creator of Kamala Harris’ Inauguration Night Dress on Supporting Black Designers," 22 Jan. 2021 All of which gave extra poignancy to the question of what the new president would tell a troubled nation. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Amid High Drama, Biden Declares Democracy Has Survived, Unity Possible," 20 Jan. 2021 Walter Brennan brings antic humor and tender poignancy to the role of the tycoon’s longtime friend. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Twenty-five of the Best Films on Amazon Prime," 23 Dec. 2020 Sandy LeBrun-Evans took her camera inside a tattered room for a double exposure that combines the ghostliness of Ham’s style with the poignancy of Hyde’s. Washington Post, "In the galleries: The Washington colorists and the CIA," 20 Nov. 2020 As with most McCall Smith novels, the plot plays to a theme of bittersweet poignancy. Alexander Mccall Smith, Star Tribune, "Quarantine Read: Readers recommend 'The Talented Mr. Varg'," 24 Dec. 2020 On the whole, the earlier segments of the play outshine the latter portion, which calls for a defter mix of laughter and poignancy. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "‘Torch Song’ still burns brightly | Review," 13 Dec. 2020 Penned and performed with deadpan keenness and sincere poignancy by Covino and real-life greatest pal Kyle Marvin — both surely assiduous cinephiles — the exceptionally auspicious first feature defies superfluous bromance movie conventions. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Is ‘The Climb’ the greatest bromantic comedy ever?," 11 Nov. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of poignancy

1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about poignancy

Time Traveler for poignancy

Time Traveler

The first known use of poignancy was in 1680

See more words from the same year

Statistics for poignancy

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Poignancy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poignancy. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on poignancy

What made you want to look up poignancy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!