poignant

adjective
poi·​gnant | \ ˈpȯi-nyənt How to pronounce poignant (audio) , 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 The result, chock-full of lolling bass lines, twinkling guitars, and sunburnt synths, is effortlessly charming, and the introspective lyrics are surprisingly poignant. Vulture Editors, Vulture, "101 Trippy Movies, Albums, Books, TV Shows, and More.," 20 Apr. 2021 The show is poignant, agonizing, joyful, tragic, hilarious and thrilling. Los Angeles Times, "Essential Arts: A compelling anti-tourist California in new photo show," 27 Mar. 2021 The inclusion of the song in this year's registry is particularly poignant after the passing of Ronald Bell last September at age 68. Cathy Applefeld Olson, Billboard, "National Recording Registry Adds Titles From Nas, Janet Jackson, Kool & the Gang and More," 24 Mar. 2021 For Blair, who made a season-high 37 saves, the trip to the title game is particularly poignant. Nicole Haase, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW women 4, Ohio State 2: Victory sends Badgers to NCAA title game," 18 Mar. 2021 This timing is particularly poignant for one group of Bosnian women, the Mothers of Srebrenica, whose husbands, sons and other male relatives were among more than 8,000 men and boys murdered during the genocide in 1995. Angelina Jolie, Time, "Angelina Jolie Talks to Director Jasmila Zbanic About Quo Vadis, Aida? and the Role of Art in Healing Trauma," 8 Mar. 2021 Reames’ centerpiece work — also called Reclaiming the Moon — is almost poignant when viewed in this context. Christopher Mosley, Dallas News, "Artist Josh Reames reflects on the internet at its worst in ‘Reclaiming the Moon’," 3 Mar. 2021 The power of old tapes is most poignant in the documentary’s bookends. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, "‘Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell’ Avoids the Trap of Mythology," 3 Mar. 2021 Speeches that precede an appeal for funds must be poignant, no more than 8 to 10 minutes long, and get to the point quickly to be effective. Norman B. Gildin, sun-sentinel.com, "When humor isn’t funny | Opinion," 26 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for poignant

Time Traveler

The first known use of poignant was in the 14th century

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Statistics for poignant

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Poignant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poignant. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on poignant

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