1. Affecting the organs of taste or smell with a sharp acrid sensation.
a. Penetrating, biting, or caustic: pungent satire.
b. To the point; sharp: pungent talks during which the major issues were confronted.
3. Pointed: a pungent leaf.
[Latin pungēns, pungent-, present participle of pungere, to sting; see peuk- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.