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Worth considering whether "poignant" is the word you want there. It denotes something evocative of sadness or regret, and derives from a root which means "to prick". So, that pricking sensation around your eyes when you feel yourself on the point of tears? Something which evokes that feeling, and that sensation, is accurately described as "poignant".

(Also possibly of interest is that "pungent" derives from the same root, for much the same reason. In this case, the pricking sensation is that caused by the irritating sulfoxides released when you cut up an onion.)




Huh. What a feeling, finding out that you've been using a word totally incorrectly for your entire life! I guess I was going for something more along the lines of "punctuating" or "relevant".


I know that feeling! I read a lot as a kid, and I'd pick up words from context but not get their meanings right, and that got embarrassing. So I talked my folks into getting me the biggest, meanest dictionary they could lay hands on, in order to avoid embarrassing myself further. Little did I know this would lead me down a path of linguistic pedantry from which I'd never be able to return.

Was the word you were after perhaps 'pertinent'?




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