AskDefine | Define pungent

Dictionary Definition

pungent adj
1 sharp biting or acrid especially in taste or smell; "tasting the pungent wood sorrel"; "pungent curry"; "a pungent smell of burning sulfur" [ant: bland]
2 capable of wounding; "a barbed compliment"; "a biting aphorism"; "pungent satire" [syn: barbed, biting, nipping, mordacious]

User Contributed Dictionary




From pungens (stem |pungent-), present participle of pungo.


  1. Having a strong odor/odour that stings the nose, said especially of acidic or spicy substances.
    The lasagne included plenty of pungent garlic.

Extensive Definition

Pungency is a sharp and biting sensory impression. Regarding chili peppers, it refers to a scientific equivalent of the Scoville scale of measuring spicyness.


The pungent feeling caused by allyl isothiocyanate, capsaicin, piperine, and allicin is caused by activation of the heat and acidity sensing TRPC ion channel TRPC1 on pain sensing nociceptors.
pungent in Spanish: Picante
pungent in Japanese: 辛味
pungent in Chinese: 辣

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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