Definition of pungent
pungent was our Word of the Day on 06/17/2012. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of pungent in a Sentence
The left has often complained that what it needs isn't polite speech, but voices as pungent as those on the right. —Jennifer Senior, New York Times Book Review, 24 Sept. 2006
I remember the enormous size of that fire and the pungent smell of smoke from the burning chaparral as the flames raced up the slope toward our house. —Tim White, Curious Minds, 2004
Maybe what seems pungent to the locals only becomes alarming when sniffed through a giant Western proboscis, but there are some odors in China that make a visit to Bhopal seem like a picnic downwind from the Arpege factory. —P. J. O'Rourke, Holidays in Hell, 1988
a play with pungent dialogue
a pungent satire of current politics
Recent Examples of pungent from the Web
A bellhop ferried my bags toward my room, past pungent trees heavy with tropical fruit.
Any allium—onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, sometimes even a particularly pungent scallion—is enough to send me into a river of tears so torrential that all visibility immediately drops to zero.
The mishap occurred at Gulf Islands Water Park when a contract repairman injected about 12 gallons of chlorine into a pool, releasing a pungent gas.
A slight smell of sewer odor lingered in the air above the bottom of the hole, but was far less pungent than months ago.
Since blooming Wednesday night, the plant’s pungent perfume has evoked comparisons to rotten fish, cheese and sweaty socks.
Area residents complain that the air in their neighborhood is often too pungent to breathe.
Kaysersberg will likely be dusted with snow and illuminated by its Christmas Market, one of the oldest on the continent, selling local produce like sweet jams, pungent cheeses and raw honey.
When much of the Trump administration is focused on Comey or Sergey Kislyak, the SWAT team can point to far less politically pungent issues.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pungent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of pungent
Latin pungent-, pungens, present participle of pungere to prick, sting; akin to Latin pugnus fist, pugnare to fight, Greek pygmē fist
First Known Use: 1598See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of pungent
PUNGENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pungent for English Language Learners
: having a strong, sharp taste or smell
: having a strong effect on the mind because of being clever and direct
PUNGENT Defined for Kids
Definition of pungent for Students
: having a strong or sharp taste or smell a pungent odor
Word Root of pungent
The Latin word pungere, meaning “to prick” or “to pierce,” and its form punctus give us the roots pung and punct. Words from the Latin pungere have something to do with pricking or piercing. To puncture is to pierce with something pointed. A pungent smell is one that is so strong and sharp that it pierces the nose. Someone punctual acts at the exact point when the hands of the clock prick the right moment. Punctuation pierces a string of words to form separate sentences.
Seen and Heard
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