9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[puhn-juh nt] /ˈpʌn dʒənt/
sharply affecting the organs of taste or smell, as if by a penetrating power; biting; acrid.
acutely distressing to the feelings or mind; poignant.
caustic, biting, or sharply expressive:
pungent remarks.
mentally stimulating or appealing:
pungent wit.
Biology. piercing or sharp-pointed.
Origin of pungent
1590-1600; < Latin pungent- (stem of pungēns), present participle of pungere to prick. See poignant, point, -ent
Related forms
pungency, noun
pungently, adverb
nonpungency, noun
nonpungent, adjective
nonpungently, adverb
1. hot, peppery, piquant, sharp. 3. sarcastic, mordant, cutting; acrimonious, bitter. 4. keen, sharp.
1. mild, bland. 3. soothing. 4. dull. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pungent
  • But even the pungent bulb can't mask your natural scent.
  • Swarms of flies rose from pungent clots of slick, stagnant water.
  • Inside the condo the sweet, pungent odor of insects and rotting food enveloped us.
  • They may be lightly perfumed with floral scents, imparting hints of citrus or herbal flavors or be deeply pungent.
  • But the harmonies are pungent with dissonance and strangely diffuse.
  • The plant's strong, pungent odor predominates in many regions after a rain.
  • Colorless to slightly yellow liquid with a pungent, aromatic, irritating odor.
British Dictionary definitions for pungent


having an acrid smell or sharp bitter flavour
(of wit, satire, etc) biting; caustic
(biology) ending in a sharp point: a pungent leaf
Derived Forms
pungency, noun
pungently, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin pungens piercing, from pungere to prick
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 pungent

1590s, "sharp, poignant" (of pain or grief), from Latin pungentem (nominative pungens), present participle of pungere "to prick, pierce, sting," figuratively, "to vex, grieve, trouble, afflict," 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. Middle English and early Modern English also had a now-obsolete verb punge "to prick, pierce; to smart, cause to sting," from Latin pungere. Related: Pungently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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