poi·​gnan·​cy ˈpȯi-nyən(t)-sē How to pronounce poignancy (audio)
 sometimes  ˈpȯi(g)-nən(t)-sē
plural poignancies
: the quality or state of being poignant
: an instance of poignancy

Examples of poignancy in a Sentence

there was a poignancy to his wit that often left his targets smarting
Recent Examples on the Web While there are flashes of poignancy in the estrangement between Byron and Benny, neither the workplace discrimination endured by Byron nor the domestic abuse suffered by Benny strays even an inch from textbook-standard beats. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Oct. 2023 Rarely can this ensemble have shaped Schubert’s melodies with such humanity and poignancy, or given such a raw, intense account of the Beethoven fugue. David Allen, New York Times, 23 Oct. 2023 The trouble is that, for all the comedy and the poignancy of this central concept, the movie requires a plot. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 3 Nov. 2023 The poignancy of the movie’s formal conceit is that, by stepping into their roles, Matar and Karoui embody both a consoling presence and a devastating absence. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2023 The bassist remembered the poignancy and individualism – to say nothing of his power within the industry – of the vocalist even during the September of his years. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 27 Oct. 2023 There’s just this kind of poignancy about physical artifacts that nothing digital can match. John Williams, Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2023 Perkins and Chavez-Richmond are delivering absolutely winning performances, expertly walking the line between buffoonery and poignancy. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 22 Sep. 2023 The scene is enacted with a careful balance of poignancy and humor. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 18 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'poignancy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of poignancy was in 1680

Dictionary Entries Near poignancy

Cite this Entry

“Poignancy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poignancy. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


poi·​gnan·​cy ˈpȯi-nyən-sē How to pronounce poignancy (audio)
: the quality or state of being poignant

More from Merriam-Webster on poignancy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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