pungent

adjective
pun·​gent | \ ˈpən-jənt How to pronounce pungent (audio) \

Definition of pungent

1 : sharply painful
2 : having a stiff and sharp point pungent leaves
3a : marked by a sharp incisive quality : caustic a pungent critic pungent language
b : being sharp and to the point
4a : causing a sharp or irritating sensation especially : acrid
b : having an intense flavor or odor a pungent chili

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Other Words from pungent

pungently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for pungent

Synonyms

nippy, sharp, strong, tangy

Antonyms

bland, mild, smooth

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Choose the Right Synonym for pungent

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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web

In a pungent statement on the governor’s own website, Mr. Cuomo not only acknowledged New York’s fiscal unattractiveness and the reality of tax competition with other states. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Amazon Fiasco Splits New York’s Left," 17 Feb. 2019 The pungent odor of the algae, which has traveled dozens of miles from Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest freshwater lake, is hard to describe. Melissa Gomez, New York Times, "Algae Bloom in Florida Prompts Fears About Harm to Health and Economy," 9 July 2018 The novel has been rightly praised as a masterwork of realism, and the scenes are cacophonous with noises and pungent with smells. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Black and White, in Wind and Fog," 22 Feb. 2019 But kimchi, a Korean staple, has historically had a reputation in the U.S. of being too spicy, too pungent, and too weird. Luke Darby, GQ, "David Chang Talks Junk Snacks, Kimchi, and the Subtle Racism Behind What We Eat," 3 May 2018 Vinegar, while pungent, helps dye bond to the eggshell. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make Your Own Natural Easter Egg Dyes with Everyday Ingredients," 7 Mar. 2019 But this plate of pasta — bitter and pungent, nourishing and perhaps a bit nauseating — should be savored on its own. A. O. Scott, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Great Silence,’ a 1968 Spaghetti Western Unchained," 28 Mar. 2018 The pungent scent is immediately reminiscent of another catch-all fermented lotion with a reputation for results: Biologique Recherche’s legendary Lotion P50 exfoliating toner. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Vintner’s Daughter Launches Its Second-Ever Product—And It’s Well Worth the Wait," 31 Jan. 2019 Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot Photo: Amazon/Everett Collection Those two sentences suggest the filmmaker’s gift for concision, and not just in dialogue, though many passages evoke worlds in a few pungent words. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Cold War’ Review: Love Under Siege," 20 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of pungent

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pungent

Latin pungent-, pungens, present participle of pungere to prick, sting; akin to Latin pugnus fist, pugnare to fight, Greek pygmē fist

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Dictionary Entries near pungent

pungapung

pungence

pungency

pungent

pungey

pungi

pungitive

Statistics for pungent

Last Updated

1 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pungent

The first known use of pungent was in 1598

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More Definitions for pungent

pungent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of pungent

: having a strong, sharp taste or smell
: having a strong effect on the mind because of being clever and direct

pungent

adjective
pun·​gent | \ ˈpən-jənt How to pronounce pungent (audio) \

Kids Definition of pungent

: having a strong or sharp taste or smell a pungent odor

Other Words from pungent

pungently adverb

pungent

adjective
pun·​gent | \ -jənt How to pronounce pungent (audio) \

Medical Definition of pungent

: causing a sharp or irritating sensation especially : acrid

Other Words from pungent

pungently adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on pungent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pungent

Spanish Central: Translation of pungent

Nglish: Translation of pungent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pungent for Arabic Speakers

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