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

On a more humanistic level, Ackley’s presence in Seattle’s camp is a poignant example of the vagaries of baseball and how the tug of the game is not easily relinquished. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "‘I’m in a way better spot’: Back with Mariners on minor-league deal, Dustin Ackley is hopeful, and realistic," 20 Feb. 2019 If not the last word in extroversion, there was nonetheless electric quick playing and a tender sweetness in the final bars that proved especially poignant. Alan Artner, chicagotribune.com, "NU Winter Chamber Music Festival opens with refined debut from Dudok Kwartet," 13 Jan. 2018 The study authors were conducting separate research when a female executive in the oil and gas industry made a poignant admission. Jenna Birch, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Secret Code to Success Most Women Don't Even Know Exists," 3 Apr. 2019 Who: Solange, the youngest mononymous member of a family of musical goddesses, who most recently graced us with 2016’s soulful, poignant A Seat at the Table. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Sound On: The Best Music of March 2019," 1 Apr. 2019 After many years on the series, 15 books, and countless poignant articles, Russell has made an indelible mark on many who follow his work. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Legendary 'Masterpiece Theatre' Host Russell Baker Has Died," 23 Jan. 2019 Just as powerfully as her speech began, Ocasio-Cortez ended on a poignant note, touching upon some of the serious issues that Americans have faced over recent years and incorporating hope for a better tomorrow. De Elizabeth, Glamour, "Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Speaks at 2019 Women's March in New York City," 20 Jan. 2019 Throughout the nine seasons, the two have faced some poignant moments together, including the devastating death of their on-screen mother, Linda Reagan (Amy Carlson). Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "These 'Blue Bloods' Stars Are Actually Related in Real Life," 4 Jan. 2019 The most poignant moment of the Dangerous Woman Diaries is when Ariana addresses and reflects on her feelings about the Manchester Arena attack. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Everything We Learned from Ariana Grande's "Dangerous Woman Diaries" Documentary," 29 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

18 May 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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