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

This is the poignant question behind Kim Sang Hyun’s now 30-year quest to bring a 1,700-year-old form of wrestling called ssireum to the U.S. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "A Lesson in Leadership From the U.S. Open: raceAhead," 3 Sep. 2019 Back in India, the monsoon was in full swing, once again, as from time immemorial — a poignant concept for someone with a brain tumor. New York Times, "Waiting for the Monsoon, Discovering a Brain Tumor Instead," 31 Aug. 2019 There's a poignant romantic shimmer, too, in a prom-night sequence — a veil of hopeful light that will soon be in shreds. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Waves': Film Review | Telluride 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 And we are left with the poignant vigil one of her brothers keeps over the plot of land where the yellow house once stood. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "A New Orleans family history: Big promises, dashed hopes and rising water," 30 Aug. 2019 The hymn’s uplifting melody provides a poignant contrast to the haunting imagery in Mutu’s video, which hints at self-destruction as a means of escape from an intolerable reality. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "An urgent look at 400 years of history: ‘Black Atlantic’ exhibit in Oberlin explores impact of slavery," 25 Aug. 2019 In another case, columnist Samantha Swindler wrote several poignant columns about a couple who had lost custody of their kids because of the parents’ low IQs. oregonlive.com, "Journalistic impact can be measured in new laws, proposed reforms: Editor’s notebook," 23 Aug. 2019 Director-writer Lulu Wang’s poignant drama, based on her family’s story, has earned some of the year’s best reviews. Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "‘Farewell’: Enzian’s best performer so far this year," 19 Aug. 2019 The choice of Kenya was poignant given the prominence of fake news, spread through Facebook and WhatsApp, during the country’s general elections. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Facebook is going after fake news in local African languages," 14 Aug. 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

7 Sep 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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