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

There have been many articles about the refreshingly accurate and poignant ways in which Bojack Horseman depicts mental illness. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "The Creators of Bojack Horseman on Pushing the Limits of Adult Animation Even Further With Undone," 13 Sep. 2019 And that was just such a fascinating and poignant reaction to me. CBS News, "Transcript: Garrett Graff talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 11 Sep. 2019 Taking the form of a poignant and funny memoir, the play recounts Schreck’s participation in American Legion contests in which students tested their mastery of the U.S. Constitution. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "What the Constitution means to Nancy Pelosi and Barbra Streisand, among other Americans," 4 Sep. 2019 Beautiful quotes, interspersed throughout the book, offer sometimes poignant and often almost spiritual opportunities for reflection. Sally Peterson, oregonlive, "Homestead Brooklyn founder Summer Rayne Oakes holds book events in Portland," 4 Sep. 2019 In a poignant, but all-too-brief, moment Gruden is seen addressing his players about the death of Cliff Branch. Chuck Barney, The Mercury News, "Raiders ‘Hard Knocks’ recap: Welcome to Gruden’s ‘nightmare’," 6 Aug. 2019 The blue of the new work thus seems referential, and poignant, even if reference was coincidental. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The new Melania Trump statue in Slovenia as interpreted by art experts," 21 July 2019 The emotional wounds explored in Lulu Wang’s poignant, bittersweet family tale aren’t the kind that can be solved with a leg of lamb, or a spritz of Windex, a la Big Fat Greek Wedding. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Lulu Wang Had to Fight To Make Her Version Of The Farewell : "I Had To Say No A Lot"," 15 July 2019 The sensation is vivid, somehow poignant, and utterly transporting. Ewen Bell, National Geographic, "Discover why Laos is the world’s next great foodie destination," 10 July 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

19 Oct 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for poignant

Spanish Central: Translation of poignant

Nglish: Translation of poignant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of poignant for Arabic Speakers

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