- sharply affecting the organs of taste or smell, as if by a penetrating power; biting; acrid.
- acutely distressing to the feelings or mind; poignant.
- caustic, biting, or sharply expressive: pungent remarks.
- mentally stimulating or appealing: pungent wit.
- Biology. piercing or sharp-pointed.
Origin of pungent
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pungency
“Beauty and the Beast” pairing: Pungency is contrasted with sweetness to accentuate the taste spectrum.Why We Love Stinky Cheese
January 14, 2010
An illustration, like a funny story, loses its pungency if it requires a scholium.College Teaching
At the same instant came an elusive whiff of pungency on the chill.The House in the Water
Charles G. D. Roberts
Ripe berries lose in pungency and also fall off and are lost.
It is the flavour of all things like the pungency of pepper.
Taste the residue and cayenne may be recognized by its pungency.Detection of the Common Food Adulterants
Edwin M. Bruce
- having an acrid smell or sharp bitter flavour
- (of wit, satire, etc) biting; caustic
- biology ending in a sharp pointa pungent leaf
Word Origin and History for pungency
1590s, "sharp, poignant" (of pain or grief), from Latin pungentem (nominative pungens), present participle of pungere "to prick, pierce, sting," figuratively, "to vex, grieve, trouble, afflict," related to pugnus "fist" (see pugnacious). Meaning "having powerful odor or taste" first recorded 1660s. Literal sense "sharp, pointed" (c.1600) is very rare in English, mostly limited to botany. Middle English and early Modern English also had a now-obsolete verb punge "to prick, pierce; to smart, cause to sting," from Latin pungere. Related: Pungently.