• Having a pleasantly sharp taste or appetizing flavor.
  • Pleasantly stimulating or exciting to the mind.

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Example Sentences

“This dip is mild at first, but then it becomes more piquant as I continue eating.” 

“The chili isn’t too spicy, but it’s the perfect level of piquant.” 

“I thought his last movie was dull, so he surprised me with that piquant performance.”

Word Origin

French, early 16th century

Why this word?

“Piquant” comes from the French, translating directly as “stinging, pricking,” but there’s a much more enjoyable connotation in English. The adjective is most commonly applied to food, where “piquant” means “something pleasantly sharp and appetizing.” It’s flavorful and robust, but not too spicy or jarring. “Piquant” can also be used in an intellectually stimulating sense — it excites the mind, but again, in a pleasant manner.

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