From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Borrowed from Latin pungens (stem pungent-), present participle of pungo (to sting). Doublet of poignant.


  • enPR: pŭnjənt, IPA(key): /ˈpʌnd͡ʒənt/
  • (file)


pungent (comparative more pungent, superlative most pungent)

  1. Having a strong odor that stings the nose, said especially of acidic or spicy substances.
    I accidentally dropped the bottle of ammonia and after few seconds, a very pungent stench could be detected.
    • 1951 February, “Notes and News: Lynton & Barnstaple Remains”, in Railway Magazine, page 136:
      Pilton Yard, the Lynton & Barnstaple headquarters, has been taken over by a fur trading firm, and would-be trespassers to the old engine-shed are turned back by the pungent odour of heaps of carcases.
    • 1991, Paul Chadwick, Concrete: American Christmas, Dark Horse Books:
      I can almost smell the fir scent… resinous, pungent.
  2. Having a strong taste that stings the tongue, said especially of hot (spicy) food, which has a strong and sharp or bitter taste.
  3. (figurative) Stinging; acerbic.
    The critic gave a pungent review.
  4. (botany) Having a sharp and stiff point.

Derived terms[edit]





  1. third-person plural future active indicative of pungō