poignant

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

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 characters were human and complicated and funny, the story was poignant and personal and, yes, the game-playing was addictive and fun. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 1 Sep. 2021 Waldo is immensely likable, and the novel is funny, poignant and suspenseful, everything that a good story should be. New York Times, 19 Aug. 2021 And while Cherry Grove has since gone on to be a popular summer destination for all New Yorkers, its popularity during the early days of the gay pride movement was clearly even more poignant and meaningful. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 1 June 2021 Williams delights not simply in wordplay but also in people who are alive to the poignant and humorous potential of language. The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 Every penny is accounted for and, in a non-pandemic year, visiting beneficiaries in both Boston and Chicago is amongst the most poignant and relevant moments during Hot Stove weekend. Jim Ryan, Forbes, 18 May 2021 But Kaluuya steadied himself and gained strength to create a poignant and far-ranging speech. Andrew R. Chow, Time, 26 Apr. 2021 After a year of protests, social reckoning and strife, country star Mickey Guyton took to the stage at the 2021 Grammy Awards to deliver a poignant and empowering message for everyone watching. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 14 Mar. 2021 This holiday season might be quite poignant and painful for many. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 23 Dec. 2020

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

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Dictionary Entries Near poignant

poignancy

poignant

poignard

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Poignant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poignant. Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for poignant

poignant

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of poignant

: causing a strong feeling of sadness

More from Merriam-Webster on poignant

Nglish: Translation of poignant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of poignant for Arabic Speakers

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