• (America, RP) IPA: /ˈpɔɪn.jənt/
  • (obsolete) IPA: /ˈpɔɪ.nənt/


  1. (obsolete) Of a weapon, etc.: sharp-pointed#Adjective|pointed; keen#Adjective|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#Noun|distress; emotionally moving#Adjective|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.
  4. (figuratively) Of a smell#Noun|smell or taste#Noun|taste: piquant, pungent.
  5. (figuratively) Of a look#Noun|look, or of word#Noun|words: incisive; penetrating#Adjective|penetrating; piercing#Adjective|piercing.
    His comments were poignant and witty.
  6. (chiefly, Britain, dated) Inducing sharp physical#Adjective|physical pain#Noun|pain.
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