Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Arousing deep emotion, especially pity or sorrow; touching: synonym: moving.
  • adjective Keenly distressing to the mind or feelings.
  • adjective Physically painful.
  • adjective Piercing; incisive.
  • adjective Agreeably intense or stimulating.
  • adjective Sharp or sour to the taste; piquant.
  • adjective Sharp or pungent to the smell.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Sharp to the taste; biting; piquant; pungent.
  • Pointed; keen; sharp.
  • Keen; bitter; satirical; hence, telling; striking.
  • Severe; piercing; very painful or acute: as, poignant pain or grief.
  • Synonyms and Piquant, etc. (see pungent), sharp, penetrating, intense, biting, acrid, caustic.

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

  • adjective Pricking; piercing; sharp; pungent.
  • adjective Fig.: Pointed; keen; satirical.

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

  • adjective obsolete, of a weapon, etc. Sharp-pointed; keen.
  • adjective Incisive; penetrating.
  • adjective neat; eloquent; applicable; relevant.
  • adjective Evoking strong mental sensation, to the point of distress; emotionally moving.
  • adjective figuratively, of a taste or smell Piquant, pungent.
  • adjective figuratively Piercing.
  • adjective dated, mostly British Inducing sharp physical pain.

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

  • adjective arousing affect
  • adjective keenly distressing to the mind or feelings

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English poinaunt, from Old French poignant, present participle of poindre, to prick, from Latin pungere; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman poynaunt, puignant et al., Middle French poignant, present participle of poindre ("to prick"), from Latin pungō ("prick").

Examples

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