poignant

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

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

PronunciationEdit

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

AdjectiveEdit

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. (figurative) Of a smell or taste: piquant, pungent.
  5. (figurative) Of a look, or of words: incisive; penetrating; piercing.
    His comments were poignant and witty.
  6. (chiefly Britain, dated) Inducing sharp physical pain.

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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

AnagramsEdit


FrenchEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Old French poignant, present participle of poindre. Possibly corresponds to Latin pungēns, pungentem[1].

PronunciationEdit

VerbEdit

poignant

  1. present participle of poindre
  2. present participle of poigner

AdjectiveEdit

poignant (feminine singular poignante, masculine plural poignants, feminine plural poignantes)

  1. poignant

ReferencesEdit

Further readingEdit


Old FrenchEdit

EtymologyEdit

Present participle of poindre. Possibly corresponds to Latin pungēns, pungentem.

VerbEdit

poignant

  1. present participle of poindre

AdjectiveEdit

poignant m (oblique and nominative feminine singular poignant or poignante)

  1. pointed; pointy

DescendantsEdit

  • English: poignant
  • French: poignant