1 a : painfully affecting the feelings : piercing
b : deeply affecting : touching
c : designed to make an impression : cutting
2 a : pleasurably stimulating
b : being to the point : apt
3 : pungently pervasive
Did You Know?
Poignant comes to English from French, and before that from Latin—specifically, the Latin verb pungere, meaning "to prick or sting." Several other common English words derive from pungere, including pungent, which can refer to, among other things, a sharp odor. The influence of pungere can also be seen in puncture, as well as punctual, which originally meant simply "of or relating to a point." Even compunction and expunge come from this pointedly relevant Latin word.
"Across Texas and the U.S. this year, high schools and universities scrambled to find ways to give students a meaningful graduation amid the coronavirus pandemic. There have been virtual events, drive-through ceremonies in parking lots and more traditional in-person events that took several days to ensure social distancing…. Images from those atypical ceremonies provide a poignant reminder of the ways life changed as the coronavirus spread." — Jamie Stengle, The Associated Press, 27 Dec. 2020
"It's hard to pick apart a film that is as well-intentioned as Here Today, which earnestly wants to celebrate life, and every beautiful, tragic, poignant and surprising moment." — Katie Walsh, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 May 2021
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
Fill in the blanks to complete a word that is related to Latin pungere and is the name for a pointed tool for piercing or for working on stone: p _ _ c _ _ _ n.VIEW THE ANSWER
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