[pee-kuhnt, -kahnt, pee-kahnt]


agreeably pungent or sharp in taste or flavor; pleasantly biting or tart: a piquant aspic.
agreeably stimulating, interesting, or attractive: a piquant glance.
of an interestingly provocative or lively character: a piquant wit.
Archaic. sharp or stinging, especially to the feelings.

Origin of piquant

1515–25; < French: literally, pricking (see pique1, -ant); replacing pickante < Italian piccante
Related formspi·quan·cy, pi·quant·ness, nounpi·quant·ly, adverb

Synonyms for piquant

1. spicy. 2. intriguing. 3. sharp, clever.

Antonyms for piquant

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for piquant

Contemporary Examples of piquant

Historical Examples of piquant

  • But that bit about the sober gray eyes and the piquant chin Jane was responsible for.

  • It was so much more beautiful to be dainty and small and piquant.

  • And of these, the following, if not the most piquant and interesting, are the most indispensable to our History.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Not all the sauces in Christendom could have made it so piquant and appetizing.

    An Orkney Maid

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

  • It was a recollection of this that made the present situation so piquant and humorous.

British Dictionary definitions for piquant



having an agreeably pungent or tart taste
lively or stimulating to the mind
Derived Formspiquancy or rare piquantness, nounpiquantly, adverb

Word Origin for piquant

C16: from French (literally: prickling), from piquer to prick, goad; see pique 1
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

Word Origin and History for piquant

1520s, from Middle French piquant "pricking, stimulating, irritating," present participle of piquer "to prick, sting, nettle" (see pike (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper