- The definition of poignant is something that has a strong effect on emotions or the senses, especially smell.
An example of poignant is the anniversary of September 11th for those who lost loved ones in the 2001 attacks.
- sharp or pungent to the smell or, formerly, the taste
- keenly affecting the other senses: poignant beauty
- sharply painful to the feelings; piercing
- evoking pity, compassion, etc.; emotionally touching or moving
- sharp, biting, penetrating, pointed, etc.: poignant wit
Origin: Middle English poynant from Middle French poignant, present participle of poindre from Classical Latin pungere, to prick: see point
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- a. Profoundly moving; touching: a poignant memory. See Synonyms at moving.b. Physically painful: “Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward” (Ambrose Bierce).c. Keenly distressing to the mind or feelings: poignant anxiety.
- Piercing; incisive: poignant criticism.
- a. Neat, skillful, and to the point: poignant illustrations supplementing the text.b. Astute and pertinent; relevant: poignant suggestions.
- Agreeably intense or stimulating: poignant delight.
- Archaic a. Sharp or sour to the taste; piquant.b. Sharp or pungent to the smell.
Origin: Middle English poinaunt, from Old French poignant, present participle of poindre, to prick, from Latin pungere; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.
- poignˈance, poignˈan·cy noun
- poignˈant·ly adverb