1590s, "sharp, poignant" (of pain or grief), from L. pungentem
), prp. of pungere
"to prick, pierce, sting," related to pugnus
"fist" (see pugnacious
). Meaning "having powerful odor or taste" first recorded 1660s. Literal sense "sharp, pointed" (c.1600) is very rare in English, mostly limited to botany.