Definition of poignant
- a poignant perfume
- poignant satire
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The photograph was a poignant reminder of her childhood.
a poignant story of a love affair that ends in tragedy
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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.
: causing a strong feeling of sadness
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