Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective pungent contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of pungent are piquant, poignant, and racy. While all these words 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

When might piquant be a better fit than pungent?

While in some cases nearly identical to pungent, piquant suggests a power to whet the appetite or interest through tartness or mild pungency.

a piquant sauce

When could poignant be used to replace pungent?

The words poignant and pungent are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, poignant suggests something is sharply or piercingly effective in stirring one's emotions.

felt a poignant sense of loss

When can racy be used instead of pungent?

While the synonyms racy and pungent are close in meaning, racy implies having a strongly characteristic natural quality fresh and unimpaired.

spontaneous, racy prose


Thesaurus Entries Near pungent

Cite this Entry

“Pungent.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pungent. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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