Pungent refers to a strong and sharp taste or smell that is often unpleasant, but can also be stimulating and invigorating.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Sharp, strong, tangy, spicy, biting


Mild, bland, tasteless, odorless, insipid

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun pungencies, pungency
Verb None
Adjective pungent
Adverb pungently

Example Sentences

  • The pungent smell of onions made her eyes water.

  • The cheese had a pungent flavor that lingered in his mouth.

  • The spices in the curry gave it a pungent kick.

  • The pungent aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the air, its rich and earthy scent awakening the senses and signaling the start of a new day, as caffeine lovers eagerly anticipated the bold and invigorating flavors that awaited them in each steaming cup.


The word pungent is often used to describe tastes and smells that are strong and sharp, often to the point of being unpleasant. The word comes from the Latin word “pungere,” which means “to prick or sting.” This root word helps to explain the strong and often overwhelming sensation that pungent flavors and aromas can have.

The word pungent is commonly used in reference to foods and spices. It can be used to describe flavors and aromas that are sharp, tangy, or spicy. For example, a dish that is seasoned with strong spices or herbs may have a pungent flavor, while a strong-smelling cheese may have a pungent aroma.

In addition to describing tastes and smells, the word pungent can also be used to describe a sharp and witty remark or comment. It can refer to language that is cutting and incisive, often with a touch of humor or irony. For example, a political cartoonist may use pungent imagery to make a pointed commentary on a current event.

The word pungent can be modified with prefixes and suffixes to create related words. For example, the prefix “super-” can be added to create the word “superpungent,” which emphasizes the strength and intensity of a taste or smell. The suffix “-ness” can be added to create the word “pungency,” which refers to the quality of being pungent or sharp.

When using the word pungent, it is important to consider the context in which it is being used. While the word can be used to describe flavors and aromas that are unpleasant, it can also be used to describe flavors and aromas that are stimulating and invigorating. As with any descriptive word, it is important to use pungent with care and precision to convey the intended meaning.