- keenly distressing to the feelings: poignant regret.
- keen or strong in mental appeal: a subject of poignant interest.
- affecting or moving the emotions: a poignant scene.
- pungent to the smell: poignant cooking odors.
Origin of poignant
SynonymsSee more synonyms for poignant on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for poignant
It was poignant, and we so wanted to leave and be out there.Ava DuVernay on ‘Selma,’ the Racist Sony Emails, and Making Golden Globes History
December 15, 2014
But Billy Childs absolutely delivers the goods in this poignant collection of Laura Nyro songs.The Best Albums of 2014
December 13, 2014
The most poignant scenes in E-Team are the ones covering the horrors of Syria.'E-Team': James Foley's Last Film
August 21, 2014
Perhaps most poignant and revealing are the remarks of students.The Ivy League Provides the Best Trade Schools Around
August 17, 2014
On its surface, the message is simple and poignant, yet hopeful.'Genie, You're Free': Suicide Is Not Liberation
August 12, 2014
She could not at first guess any possible cause for an emotion so poignant.Within the Law
Those were days of fond reminiscence and poignant regret on my part.Southern Lights and Shadows
All at once the poignant and disgusting attack of the insects ceased.The Cruise of the Dry Dock
T. S. Stribling
Thy heart is ingenuous and sincere; thy misfortune is poignant and affecting.Imogen
Had I done so, how poignant would be my remorse at the retribution of our own sufferings, and the pity of those I had so injured!The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete
Madame du Hausset, an "Unknown English Girl" and the Princess Lamballe
- sharply distressing or painful to the feelings
- to the point; cutting or piercingpoignant wit
- keen or pertinent in mental appeala poignant subject
- pungent in smell
Word Origin and History for poignant
late 14c., "painful to physical or mental feeling" (of sauce, spice, wine as well as things that affect the feelings), from Old French poignant "sharp, pointed" (13c.), present participle of poindre "to prick, sting," from Latin pungere "to prick" (see pungent). Related: Poignantly.
The word disguises a linguistics trick-play, a double reverse. Latin pungere is from the same root as Latin pugnus "fist," and represents a metathesis of -n- and -g- that later was reversed in French.