AskDefine | Define piquant

Dictionary Definition

piquant adj
1 having an agreeably pungent taste [syn: savory, savoury, spicy, zesty]
2 engagingly stimulating or provocative; "a piquant wit"; "salty language" [syn: salty]
3 attracting or delighting; "an engaging frankness"; "a piquant face with large appealing eyes" [syn: engaging]

User Contributed Dictionary



Middle French piquant "pricking, stimulating, irritating".


  1. Engaging; charming.
  2. Favorably stimulating to the palate; pleasantly spicy; stimulating.
  3. (archaic) Causing hurt feelings; scathing.


Engaging; charming
Favorably stimulating to the palate
Causing hurt feelings
Translations to be checked



  • /pi.kɑ̃/
  • /pi.kA~/


  1. piquant

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.
piquant in Spanish: Picante
piquant in Japanese: 辛味
piquant in Chinese: 辣

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acerbic, acid, acrid, agitating, alluring, appealing, appetizing, asperous, astringent, attractive, beguiling, bewitching, biting, bitter, blandishing, breathtaking, cajoling, captivating, catching, caustic, challenging, charged, charismatic, charming, cliff-hanging, coaxing, come-hither, coquettish, cutting, disquieting, distracting, disturbing, electric, enchanting, encouraging, energizing, engaging, enravishing, enthralling, enticing, entrancing, escharotic, exciting, exhilarating, exotic, fascinating, fetching, flirtatious, galvanic, galvanizing, glamorous, harsh, heady, heart-expanding, heart-stirring, heart-swelling, heart-thrilling, hypnotic, impressive, inflammatory, interesting, intoxicating, intriguing, inviting, irresistible, irritating, jarring, jolting, juicy, keen, lively, maddening, mesmeric, mind-blowing, mordant, mouth-watering, moving, nose-tickling, overcoming, overmastering, overpowering, overwhelming, penetrating, peppery, peppy, perturbing, piercing, poignant, prepossessing, prompting, provocative, provoking, provoquant, pungent, racy, ravishing, readable, rich, rough, rousing, seducing, seductive, severe, sharp, siren, sirenic, snappy, soul-stirring, sour, sparkling, spellbinding, spellful, spicy, spirit-stirring, spirited, stimulant, stimulating, stimulative, stinging, stirring, striking, succulent, suspenseful, suspensive, taking, tantalizing, teasing, telling, tempting, thought-challenging, thought-inspiring, thought-provoking, thrilling, thrilly, tickling, titillating, titillative, trenchant, troubling, unsettling, upsetting, vitriolic, vivacious, winning, winsome, witching, zesty
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