Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
February 11th, 2015
Episode 104 of 689 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 11, 2015 is: poignant \POY-nyunt\ adjective 1 a : painfully or deeply affecting the feelings b : designed to make an impression : cutting 2 : being to the point : apt Examples: The shuttered storefronts along the city's Main Street serve as poignant reminders of the economic recession. "Before there was reality TV and social networks and surveillance cams everywhere in the world, Jim Carrey starred in this film about a man whose entire life is broadcast 24/7but in his case, he doesn't know it. It has a lot to say about privacy, making it all the more poignant today." Eric Griffith, PCMag.com, December 26, 2014 Did you know? Poignant comes to us from French, and before that from Latinspecifically, the Latin verb pungere, meaning "to prick or sting." Several other common English words derive from pungere, including pungent, which can refer, among other things, to a "sharp" odor. The influence of pungere can also be seen in puncture, as well as punctual, which originally meant simply "of or relating to a point." Even compunction and expunge come from this pointedly relevant Latin word.