- 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 pungent
Regardless, that goes double for a hippy isle full of expats and pungent pot known as Bocas del Toro.A Man, a Plan, a Canal: Panama Turns 100
August 17, 2014
Their free clinic in central Athens is housed in a shabby apartment that smells of feverish bodies and pungent medicine.A Dickensian Christmas For Greece’s New Poor
Barbie Latza Nadeau
December 22, 2013
On move-in day I opened the front door to a pungent, musky odor of pure mold.George Washington University’s Housing Horrors
August 21, 2013
Women who use the pungent coverup make less money than fully topless dancers, but many seem to prefer the alternative.A License to Strip? Texas Dancers Say No Thanks
January 9, 2013
New hires are also warned not to wear perfume or aftershave that is too pungent.Juiciest Bits From the Royal Exposé
October 31, 2011
This conduct bespeaks the most pungent and unaffected sorrow.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. II
Francis Augustus Cox
It burns like oil, is of a pungent scent, and a blackish color.
The insipid odour of the meat, the pungent smell of the tripe exasperated him.The Fat and the Thin
In all plants which I have found the odor is somewhat strong and the taste is pungent.The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise
M. E. Hard
The air was thick with the odor of raw blood and pungent with ozone.The Martian Cabal
Roman Frederick Starzl
- 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 pungent
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.