from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The power of stimulating the organs of taste; piquancy.
  • noun Point; sharpness; keenness; power of irritation: asperity: as, the poignancy of wit or sarcasm.
  • noun Pain-fulness; keenness; bitterness: as, the poignancy of grief.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The quality or state of being poignant

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The quality of being poignant

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a state of deeply felt distress or sorrow
  • noun a quality that arouses emotions (especially pity or sorrow)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • This is a complex fiction piece but it's not lacking in poignancy or resonance either.

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  • That Lucy's a senior, and knowing that this was her last parents weekend, added a certain poignancy to the occasion.

    Embracing a Parental Rite Ralph Gardner Jr. 2010

  • Rome adds a certain poignancy to the story, I think.

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  • By focusing on the characters instead of the technology, the story floats in poignancy, holding its head above the soapy waters with another positive message about diversity and, this time, generosity as well.

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  • Lowdown: Summer draws poignancy from the half-century dividing it from Dandelion Wine, but feels like an afterthought.

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  • Lowdown: Summer draws poignancy from the half-century dividing it from Dandelion Wine, but feels like an afterthought.

    October 2006 2006

  • And for those of you that don’t know, there’s a certain poignancy attached to this, because Adrienne Shelly was murdered in November of last year, before her film was released/shown at the Sundance blah de blah.

    Adrienne Shelly « We Don't Count Your Own Visits To Your Blog 2007

  • The Lord of the Rings derives great poignancy from the constant uncertainty of Frodo’s position, as Aragorn and Gandalf and the rest strive superhumanly to perform heroic deeds that will be entirely wasted if Sauron recovers the Ring.

    Quakers in Spain superversive 2006

  • I had a thing for Japanese authors like Shusako Endo (loooved his novel “The Samurai”) and Junichiro Tanizaki (loooved his novel “The Makioka Sisters”) Currently, I love the author Tom Perrotta – he masterfully balances humor and poignancy, which is something I strive to do in my writing as well.

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  • We have all of us sobbed so piteously, standing with tiny bare legs above our little socks, when we lost sight of our mother or nurse in some strange place; but we can no longer recall the poignancy of that moment and weep over it, as we do over the remembered sufferings of five or ten years ago.

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  • Like getting blood out of a stone

    The city left you all alone

    You came to dance, but there's no poignancy

    When they all leave you standing alone.

    (Put the book back on the shelf, by Belle and Sebastian)

    October 4, 2008