- 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.
poignant definition by Webster's New World
- 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
poignant definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- 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