poignant

adjective
poi·​gnant | \ ˈpȯi-nyənt, sometimes ˈpȯi(g)-nənt How to pronounce poignant (audio) \

Definition of poignant

1a(1) : painfully affecting the feelings : piercing
(2) : deeply affecting : touching
b : designed to make an impression : cutting poignant satire
2a : pleasurably stimulating
b : being to the point : apt
3 : pungently pervasive a poignant perfume

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Other Words from poignant

poignantly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for poignant

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

moving, impressive, poignant, affecting, touching, pathetic mean having the power to produce deep emotion. moving may apply to any strong emotional effect including thrilling, agitating, saddening, or calling forth pity or sympathy. a moving appeal for contributions impressive implies compelling attention, admiration, wonder, or conviction. an impressive list of achievements poignant applies to what keenly or sharply affects one's sensitivities. a poignant documentary on the homeless affecting is close to moving but most often suggests pathos. an affecting deathbed reunion touching implies arousing tenderness or compassion. the touching innocence in a child's eyes pathetic implies moving to pity or sometimes contempt. pathetic attempts to justify misconduct

Did You Know?

Poignant comes to us from French, and before that from Latin-specifically, the Latin verb pungere, meaning "to prick or sting." Several other common English words derive from pungere, including pungent, which can refer, among other things, to a "sharp" odor. The influence of pungere can also be seen in puncture, as well as punctual, which originally meant simply "of or relating to a point." Even compunction and expunge come from this pointedly relevant Latin word.

Examples of poignant in a Sentence

… this movie isn't a soft-pedaled, poignant tale of addiction and recovery—it's just about the addiction. — David Crowley, Vibe, June 2001 In a poignant attempt to split the difference between the two camps, Justices Breyer and David Souter tried to prevent the Court from destroying itself. — Jeffrey Rosen, New Republic, 25 Dec. 2000 I've witnessed the poignant efforts of young whites striving to conform to the vague tenets of the mainstream, taking crushingly dull jobs, settling down with the least challenging of spouses … — Jake Lamar, UTNE Reader, May/June 1992 … a new and sharper and most poignant sense of loss for that broken musical instrument which had once been my leg. — Oliver Sacks, A Leg to Stand On, 1984 The photograph was a poignant reminder of her childhood. a poignant story of a love affair that ends in tragedy
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Recent Examples on the Web

The generation just after is represented by Jackson Browne, and the poignant appearance of Tom Petty in one of his last interviews, wry and reverential about a scene and sound that spurred him to pick up a Rickenbacker. Robert Abele, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Jakob Dylan and ‘Echo in the Canyon’ recall the mid-1960s Harmonic Invasion," 6 June 2019 Moments when people burst into applause at lines -- not just at the ends of songs, not just funny things, but things that are poignant and fresh and teaching moments. Rebecca Milzoff, Billboard, "Tony Nominee Spotlight: Lilli Cooper Talks Taking Center Stage in 'Tootsie'," 4 June 2019 Though not intended as such, the remark strikes me as a poignant reminder of the dangers to the writer of trying to keep pace with technological change. Christopher Beha, Harper's magazine, "Mallo My!," 10 Mar. 2019 Yes, and that’s one of the most poignant and painful ironies: that Madison, a wonderful founder, was a really terrible war president. Alex Ward, Vox, "This historian spent 10 years researching wartime presidents. Trump scares him the most.," 5 Nov. 2018 But there are poignant and deeply compassionate sections in the book, too. Andrew R. Graybill, WSJ, "‘Boom Town’ Review: Oklahoma OK’d," 20 Sep. 2018 Most memorable of all is the U.S. Immigration Station, a poignant reminder of the island’s role as gateway to America for thousands of immigrants, most from China. Peter Fish, San Francisco Chronicle, "Top 10 California parks: Don’t die before seeing these," 9 May 2018 This shirt was a poignant reminder that Hilfiger has never done anything on a small scale, and always with respectable bravado. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "Gigi Hadid Closes Out Milan Fashion Week on a Racetrack," 25 Feb. 2018 The most poignant moment of the evening, however, came thanks to her equally stylish daughter, Tracee Ellis-Ross. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Diana Ross and Tracee Ellis Ross Pulled Off a Mother-Daughter Style Moment for the Ages," 27 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'poignant.' 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 poignant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for poignant

Middle English poynaunt, from Anglo-French poinant, poignant, present participle of poindre to prick, sting, from Latin pungere — more at pungent

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Dictionary Entries near poignant

-poietic

poignance

poignancy

poignant

poignard

poikil-

poikilitic

Statistics for poignant

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for poignant

The first known use of poignant was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for poignant

poignant

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of poignant

: causing a strong feeling of sadness

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More from Merriam-Webster on poignant

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Spanish Central: Translation of poignant

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Britannica English: Translation of poignant for Arabic Speakers

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