V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. sharply painful or saddening; 2. keenly distressing; 3. cutting in effect

Synonyms: affecting, distressing, heart-rending, moving, touching, intense, serious

Antonyms: humorous

Tips: Poignant is derived from the Middle French poignant, present participle of poidre, "to prick, sting." Something that is poignant "pierces" the heart, senses, or emotions. You will see poignant used three different ways: Something that is emotionally touching or painfully sad can be described as poignant, like a poignant scene in a movie; secondly, it can mean biting, acute, sharp, or piercing, like a poignant critique or a person's poignant wit; finally, it can be used to describe something that sharply affects the senses, like a poignant odor or poignant beauty. However, when describing sharp or biting smells and tastes, use pungent. Pungent is also derived from the same Latin and French root. See pungent for additional analysis.

Usage Examples:

In a simple yet poignant speech, the well-respected CEO announced his retirement and said good-bye to his employees. (moving, touching)

It was a poignant moment when he broke down and started crying while trying to give a eulogy at his father's funeral. (distressing, heart-rending)

The news of the company restructuring caused poignant anxiety for many employees. (intense, serious)

The professor always delivered moving and poignant lectures that were motivating to his students. (affecting, intense)

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