poi·​gnan·​cy | \ ˈpȯi-nyən(t)-sē, sometimes ˈpȯi(g)-nən(t)-sē How to pronounce poignancy (audio) \
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 The sincerity of Chillag’s interviews serve the humor but also poignancy of the topics. Holly Ojalvo, Quartz, "The 3rd annual Quartz Casties: Our favorite podcasts of 2019," 22 Dec. 2019 While there is humor and poignancy in both opera and design, there is nothing sentimental about either. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Discovering Maurice Sendak, the Opera Designer," 27 June 2019 The new film manages to do the same, to a lesser degree, and some of Rogers’ idiosyncrasies are played for comedic purposes, which slightly derails the poignancy. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood' brings out the warm fuzzies with Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers," 18 Nov. 2019 His intimate school assignment painting of the family living room, from 1948, has some of the same throbbing biographical poignancy as the Van Gogh bedroom elsewhere in the museum. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Andy Warhol 'A to B’ comes to Art Institute Chicago, the first big retrospective in decades," 23 Oct. 2019 Tad Kincade injects some poignancy into Davy, his weight-conscious best friend. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "‘The Full Monty’: Fun can be enough | Review," 5 Aug. 2019 Full of poignancy and instinctual insight into the human condition, Odisea struck a nerve that went far deeper than the club floor, becoming the top-selling Latin album of 2017. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Greatest Albums of the 2010s: Staff Picks," 19 Nov. 2019 The film's final scene, in which Socrates literally lets his mother's ashes slip through his hands, is heartbreaking in its quiet poignancy. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Socrates': Film Review," 7 Aug. 2019 Muschietti is certainly a gifted visualist, lending poignancy to an engaging first act with dreamlike segues that pierce the metaphysical veil and tighten the cosmic tapestry that unites the Losers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Overlong ‘It Chapter Two’ confronts scarier evils than Pennywise the clown," 5 Sep. 2019

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

27 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Poignancy.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poignancy. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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).


to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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