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 And in a particularly poignant moment, Bradby referred to an emotive speech that Meghan gave upon arriving to the Nyanga township in Cape Town during the royal tour. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Discusses Her Identity as a Woman of Color Within the Royal Family," 21 Oct. 2019 The engagement was no doubt a poignant moment for the future heir to the British throne as his late mother, Diana, the Princess of Wales, previously visited the medical facility as a guest of now Prime Minister, Imran Khan. Max Foster And David Wilkinson, CNN, "Duchess of Cambridge enthuses over 'fantastic' Pakistan in first ever TV news interview," 18 Oct. 2019 That was her idea to button the scene with a poignant moment like that. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Vince Gilligan breaks down El Camino — and how he decided which Breaking Bad characters to revive," 15 Oct. 2019 Their encounter, facilitated by time travel and infinity stones, is one of the mega-movie’s most poignant moments. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Little House, Big Fans: These People Really, Really Love Laura Ingalls Wilder," 24 Aug. 2019 For collectors more interested in seaming than celluloid, several of the lots represent poignant moments in Dior’s history. David Nash, Town & Country, "Olivia de Havilland’s Collection of Christian Dior Haute Couture Is a Film and Fashion Treasure Trove," 15 Aug. 2019 The history of gay emperor Hadrian is pinned in Rome, as well as poignant moments like a lesbian couple being harassed in the metro and defended by a local. Melissa Kravitz, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Mapping Tool Collects Queer Sites and Memories," 15 Aug. 2019 Her goal celebration to honor her late mother was one of the most poignant moments of the competition. Avi Creditor, SI.com, "SI’s 24 USWNT Commemorative Digital Covers," 12 July 2019 Buttigieg also had one of the most poignant moments of the debate. John Wildermuth, SFChronicle.com, "Kamala Harris takes command during heated presidential debate," 28 June 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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Statistics for poignant

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce poignant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of poignant

: causing a strong feeling of sadness

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