[ pee-kuhnt, -kahnt, pee-kahnt ]
/ ˈpi kənt, -kɑnt, piˈkɑnt /


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

Examples from the Web for piquant

British Dictionary definitions for piquant


/ (ˈpiːkənt, -kɑːnt) /


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