pun·​gen·​cy | \ˈpən-jən(t)-sē \

Definition of pungency 

: the quality or state of being pungent

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for pungency


nip, piquancy, spice, tang, zest, zing



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pungency in a Sentence

the pungency of the vinegar gives the salad dressing the kick that it needs theatergoers have long delighted in the pungency and wit of the play's dialogue

Recent Examples on the Web

Recently the Carter Center’s office in Sarh, a provincial capital in southern Chad, filled with an aquatic pungency as Dr. Eberhard and Mr. Cleveland gutted and skinned 13 frogs. New York Times, "Nearly Eradicated in Humans, the Guinea Worm Finds New Victims: Dogs," 18 June 2018 The sauce is honeyed and tomato-rich, faintly spicy, with a pinch of oregano added at the end for pungency. Sam Sifton, New York Times, "The Corporate Delivery Pie You Secretly Love — but Better," 29 May 2018 If it’s made well, the oil will strike a balance of fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. Ted Trautman, San Francisco Chronicle, "California’s olive oil craze: rooted in the far north counties," 7 June 2018 The book takes its time getting on the highway, and the slow pace is exacerbated by Katharine McEwan’s demure and deliberate narration, which drains some of the pungency from Hartman’s prose. Louis Bayard, New York Times, "Audiobooks for Summer Trips With the Kids," 28 May 2018 In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue’’), possesses extravagant gifts of language, with a knack for constructing dialogue that ranges from soaring lyricism to street-smart pungency before returning back to lyricism. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "The runway is ablaze, but ‘Wig Out!’ skims its glittering surface," 1 May 2018 There’s some grapefruit from Centennial and Cascade hops, lemon from Citra, grass from Amarillo and Mosaic and pungency from Chinook. Markus Haas, San Antonio Express-News, "April 7 marks key date in beer history and start of Beer Week," 5 Apr. 2018 Aroma dissipates but can linger The aroma has the sharp pungency of a rotten egg. Richard Ruelas, azcentral, "Foul odor prompts recall of Dos Cabezas cans of sparkling wine," 27 Mar. 2018 The Reaper clocks in at 2.2 million Scoville heat units (the Scoville scale is used to gauge the pungency of chili peppers). Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Feeling the burn at Casian Crawfish," 21 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pungency.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of pungency

1649, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pungency

Dictionary Entries near pungency








Statistics for pungency

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pungency

The first known use of pungency was in 1649

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pungency


pun·​gen·​cy | \ˈpən-jən-sē \
plural pungencies

Medical Definition of pungency 

: the quality or state of being pungent

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pungency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pungency

Spanish Central: Translation of pungency

Nglish: Translation of pungency for Spanish Speakers

Comments on pungency

What made you want to look up pungency? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!