poignant

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Anglo-Norman poynaunt, puignant et al., Middle French poignant, present participle of poindre (to prick), from Latin pungō (prick).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

poignant (comparative more poignant, superlative most poignant)

  1. (obsolete, of a weapon etc) Sharp-pointed; keen.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VII:
      His siluer shield, now idle maisterlesse; / His poynant speare, that many made to bleed [...].
  2. Incisive; penetrating.
    His comments were poignant and witty.
  3. neat; eloquent; applicable; relevant.
    A poignant reply will garner more credence than hours of blown smoke.
  4. Evoking strong mental sensation, to the point of distress; emotionally moving.
    Flipping through his high school yearbook evoked many a poignant memory of yesteryear.
  5. (figuratively, of a taste or smell) Piquant, pungent.
  6. (figuratively, of a look, or of words) Piercing.
  7. (dated, mostly British) Inducing sharp physical pain.

Synonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  • OED 2nd edition 1989
  • Webster Third New International 1986

French[edit]

Verb[edit]

poignant

  1. Present participle of poindre.
  2. Present participle of poigner.

Adjective[edit]

poignant m (feminine poignante, masculine plural poignants, feminine plural poignantes)

  1. poignant

External links[edit]


Old French[edit]

Verb[edit]

poignant

  1. Present participle of poindre.

Adjective[edit]

poignant m

  1. pointed; pointy

Descendants[edit]