poignant

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English poynaunt, poynant, borrowed from Anglo-Norman puignant, poynaunt etc., present participle of poindre (to prick), from Latin pungō (prick).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (General American, Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈpɔɪn.jənt/
  • (obsolete) IPA(key): /ˈpɔɪ.nənt/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: poign‧ant (per American Heritage and Random House); poi‧gnant (per Merriam-Webster)

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. Neat; eloquent; applicable; relevant.
    A poignant reply will garner more credence than hours of blown smoke.
  3. Evoking strong mental sensation, to the point of distress; emotionally moving.
    Synonyms: distressing, moving
    Flipping through his high school yearbook evoked many a poignant memory of yesteryear.
    • 1905, Edith Wharton, chapter XIV, in The House of Mirth, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, OCLC 909409573, book II, page 528:
      The shabby chest of drawers was spread with a lace cover, and set out with a few gold-topped boxes and bottles, a rose-coloured pin-cushion, a glass tray strewn with tortoise-shell hair[-]pins—he shrank from the poignant intimacy of these trifles, and from the blank surface of the toilet-mirror above them.
    • 2004, Andrew Radford, Minimalist Syntax: Exploring the Structure of English, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, §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.
  4. (figuratively, of a smell, taste) Piquant, pungent.
  5. (figuratively, of a look, word) Incisive; penetrating; piercing.
    His comments were poignant and witty.
  6. (chiefly Britain, dated) Inducing sharp physical pain.

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].

Pronunciation[edit]

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

References[edit]

Further reading[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]

  • English: poignant
  • French: poignant