[ poin-yuhnt, poi-nuhnt ]
See synonyms for poignant on Thesaurus.com
  1. keenly distressing to the feelings: poignant regret.

  2. keen or strong in mental appeal: a subject of poignant interest.

  1. affecting or moving the emotions: a poignant scene.

  2. pungent to the smell: poignant cooking odors.

Origin of poignant

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English poynaunt, from Middle French poignant, literally, “stinging,” present participle of poindre “to appear, emerge,” earlier “to prick, sting,” from Latin pungere; see pungent

Other words for poignant

Opposites for poignant

Other words from poignant

  • poign·ant·ly, adverb
  • un·poign·ant, adjective
  • un·poign·ant·ly, adverb

Words Nearby poignant

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use poignant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for poignant


/ (ˈpɔɪnjənt, -nənt) /

  1. sharply distressing or painful to the feelings

  2. to the point; cutting or piercing: poignant wit

  1. keen or pertinent in mental appeal: a poignant subject

  2. pungent in smell

Origin of poignant

C14: from Old French, from Latin pungens pricking, from pungere to sting, pierce, grieve

Derived forms of poignant

  • poignancy or poignance, noun
  • poignantly, adverb

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