Definition of pungent
pungent was our Word of the Day on 06/17/2012. Hear the podcast!
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
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: 1598
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.
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