poignant

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing 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.
    • 2004, Andrew Radford, Minimalist Syntax: Exploring the Structure of English, University Press, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-83497-X, §1.4, page 13:
      A particularly poignant example of this is a child called Genie (see Curtiss 1977; Rymer 1993), who was deprived of speech input and kept locked up on her own in a room until age thirteen. When eventually taken into care and exposed to intensive language input, her vocabulary grew enormously, but her syntax never developed.
    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

Anagrams[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French poignant, present participle of poindre. Possibly corresponds to Latin pungēns, pungentem[1].

Verb[edit]

poignant

  1. present participle of poindre
  2. present participle of poigner

Adjective[edit]

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

  1. poignant

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]


Old French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Present participle of poindre. Possibly corresponds to Latin pungēns, pungentem.

Verb[edit]

poignant

  1. present participle of poindre

Adjective[edit]

poignant m (oblique and nominative feminine singular poignant or poignante)

  1. pointed; pointy

Descendants[edit]