AskDefine | Define poignant

Dictionary Definition

poignant adj
1 arousing affect; "the homecoming of the released hostages was an affecting scene"; "poignant grief cannot endure forever"; "his gratitude was simple and touching" [syn: affecting, touching]
2 keenly distressing to the mind or feelings; "poignant anxiety"

User Contributed Dictionary



From poignant, present participle of poindre from pungo.


  • a UK /ˈpɔɪ.njənt/, /"pOI.njEnt/
  • a US /ˈpɔɪn.jənt/


  1. obsolete of a weapon etc sharp-pointed; keen
  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. figurative of a taste or smell piquant, pungent
  6. piercing
  7. dated mostly British inducing sharp physical pain

Related terms


sharp-pointed; keen
  • Japanese: 鋭い
incisive; penetrating
  • Finnish: kärkevä
  • Japanese: 鋭い, 痛烈な, 辛辣な
neat; eloquent; applicable; relevant
  • Japanese: 鋭い
evoking strong mental sensation
  • Finnish: (evoking sharp mental pain) kipeä, arka; (emotionally moving) liikuttava
  • Japanese: 痛烈な
piquant; pungent
  • Japanese: 鋭い
inducing sharp physical pain
  • Japanese: 鋭い


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

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

absorbing, acerbic, acid, acidulous, acrid, acrimonious, acute, affecting, afflictive, agitating, agonizing, asperous, astringent, atrocious, barbed, biting, bitter, bleak, blue, caustic, cheerless, comfortless, corrosive, cramping, cruel, cutting, deep, deep-felt, deepgoing, deplorable, depressing, depressive, disastrous, discomforting, dismal, dismaying, distressful, distressing, disturbing, dolorific, dolorogenic, dolorous, double-edged, dramatic, dreary, driving, earnest, edged, effective, emotional, escharotic, excruciating, exquisite, extreme, fierce, forceful, forcible, gnawing, grave, grievous, griping, gutsy, hard, harrowing, harsh, heartfelt, homefelt, hurtful, hurting, imperative, impressive, incisive, indelible, intense, irritating, joyless, keen, lamentable, lively, melancholy, miserable, mordacious, mordant, mournful, moving, nervous, nose-tickling, painful, paroxysmal, pathetic, penetrating, peppery, peppy, perturbing, pervading, piercing, piquant, piteous, pitiable, pitiful, pointed, powerful, profound, punchy, pungent, racking, racy, regrettable, rigorous, rough, rueful, sad, saddening, sarcastic, sardonic, scathing, sensational, severe, sharp, shooting, sincere, sinewed, sinewy, slashing, snappy, sore, sorrowful, sour, sparkling, spasmatic, spasmic, spasmodic, spicy, spirited, stabbing, stinging, stirring, strident, striking, stringent, strong, tart, telling, tormenting, torturous, touching, tragic, trenchant, uncomfortable, upsetting, vehement, vigorous, violent, virulent, vital, vitriolic, vivacious, vivid, woebegone, woeful, wretched, zesty
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1