Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[puhn-juh nt] /ˈpʌn dʒənt/
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
1590-1600; < Latin pungent- (stem of pungēns), present participle of pungere to prick. See poignant, point, -ent
Related forms
pungency, noun
pungently, adverb
nonpungency, noun
nonpungent, adjective
nonpungently, adverb
1. hot, peppery, piquant, sharp. 3. sarcastic, mordant, cutting; acrimonious, bitter. 4. keen, sharp.
1. mild, bland. 3. soothing. 4. dull. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for pungent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She could perceive just one star peering through a rift of cloud, and in her nostrils was the pungent odor of tobacco.

    Keith of the Border Randall Parrish
  • His audience was inclined to limit him to the time when he could be pungent.

    Days Off Henry Van Dyke
  • The damp sodden leaves sent up a pungent odor as his feet crushed them.

    Janet of the Dunes Harriet T. Comstock
  • It smelled sweet and pungent and suspicious, but, then—this was Christmas Eve.

    The heart of happy hollow Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • The smell of the sage brush, pungent and aromatic, is in my nostrils from day to day.

British Dictionary definitions for pungent


having an acrid smell or sharp bitter flavour
(of wit, satire, etc) biting; caustic
(biology) ending in a sharp point: a pungent leaf
Derived Forms
pungency, noun
pungently, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin pungens piercing, from pungere to prick
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for pungent

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pungent

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for pungent