poignant

adjective
poi·​gnant | \ ˈpȯi-nyənt, 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

Her solo walk down the aisle was one of the most poignant moments of the wedding, as the beautiful and confident Markle waltzed to meet Prince Harry at the altar. Vogue, "How Meghan Markle Made Her Mark on the Monarchy in 2018," 13 Dec. 2018 Philippians 4:13 is a particularly poignant piece of scripture for him. Jim Owczarski, Cincinnati.com, "Unbreakable, undrafted Quinton Flowers gets his chance with the Cincinnati Bengals," 11 May 2018 Even though the original Roseanne series has been off the air for 11 years, die-hard fans still remembered this poignant scene when the series returned. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "Harris Conner Healy's Name on "Roseanne" Has a Really Deep Meaning," 4 Apr. 2018 While numerous celebrities and fans have expressed their admiration for the legend on social media after her passing, perhaps no statement has been as poignant as the one just released by Barack and Michelle Obama. Devon Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Barack and Michelle Obama Pay Tribute to Aretha Franklin," 16 Aug. 2018 Returning to his Dominican roots musically is seemingly much more poignant in Trump's America, where people from Latin American countries are especially targeted. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Royce on His Newest Album and the Importance of Latin Music in Today's Political Climate," 27 Mar. 2017 The location was all the more poignant as JJ's twin brother, Colt, died in utero, and Warriner got the sad news while at the same hospital. Rachel Morris, Woman's Day, "New Parents Get Hitched in Hospital Room So Preemie Can Attend," 12 Nov. 2014 The collection includes original American military aircraft from World War I through today, a poignant place for George H.W. Bush, who was a veteran of World War II, to visit. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Prince Charles Has Arrived at George H.W. Bush's Funeral," 5 Dec. 2018 The theme of getting duped is a particularly poignant motif that runs throughout the horror genre. Anne T. Donahue, Marie Claire, "In 2018, Horror Movies Are the Most Comforting Things I Watch," 19 Nov. 2018

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

12 Jan 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

Nglish: Translation of poignant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of poignant for Arabic Speakers

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