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piquant

[pee-kuh nt, -kahnt, pee-kahnt] /ˈpi kənt, -kɑnt, piˈkɑnt/
adjective
1.
agreeably pungent or sharp in taste or flavor; pleasantly biting or tart:
a piquant aspic.
2.
agreeably stimulating, interesting, or attractive:
a piquant glance.
3.
of an interestingly provocative or lively character:
a piquant wit.
4.
Archaic. sharp or stinging, especially to the feelings.
Origin of piquant
1515-1525
1515-25; < French: literally, pricking (see pique1, -ant); replacing pickante < Italian piccante
Related forms
piquancy, piquantness, noun
piquantly, adverb
Synonyms
1. spicy. 2. intriguing. 3. sharp, clever.
Antonyms
1. insipid.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for piquancy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Their picturesque pronunciation gives their conversation a piquancy which defies imitation.

    Friend Mac Donald Max O'Rell
  • Call it, for the sake of piquancy, "Beethoven and Esterhazy."

    Old Fogy James Huneker
  • After all, there was piquancy in the situation; for to most men, love sought and hardly won is far sweeter than love freely given.

    The Squire of Sandal-Side Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • He imagined that that sort of thing lent a piquancy to conversation.

    A Venetian June Anna Fuller
  • It had a piquancy and a picturesqueness that, thank God, are to be restored!

    The Valiants of Virginia Hallie Erminie Rives
  • And it gains in piquancy from the fact that everybody knows the personages.

    A Chambermaid's Diary Octave Mirbeau
  • The Edinburgh Review” said: “For many years there has been no work of such power, piquancy, and originality.

  • He was more famous for his wit than his wisdom; for his piquancy than for piety.

    One Irish Summer William Eleroy Curtis
  • It would be difficult to speak too highly of them; they have a piquancy and grace which is in the highest degree attractive.

British Dictionary definitions for piquancy

piquant

/ˈpiːkənt; -kɑːnt/
adjective
1.
having an agreeably pungent or tart taste
2.
lively or stimulating to the mind
Derived Forms
piquancy, (rare) piquantness, noun
piquantly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from French (literally: prickling), from piquer to prick, goad; see pique1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for piquancy
n.

1660s, from piquant + -cy.

piquant

adj.

1520s, from Middle French piquant "pricking, stimulating, irritating," present participle of piquer "to prick, sting, nettle" (see pike (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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