Definition of piquant in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpiːk(ə)nt/
Pronunciation: /ˈpiːkɒnt/


1Having a pleasantly sharp taste or appetizing flavour: a piquant tartare sauce
More example sentences
  • Herbs and spices add a piquant taste that ketchup can't match.
  • This cheese usually has tangy, piquant, spicy and peppery flavor.
  • I've had this several times before and it has always been superb, a tasty combination of sweet and piquant flavours.
1.1Pleasantly stimulating or exciting to the mind.
Example sentences
  • Milton Hatoum transports us to a magical boomtown, full of shimmering light, tropical colour and piquant incident.
  • It consists of large, wall-painted versions of his witty or piquant statements, realised in a variety of typefaces and colours.
  • It may be of piquant interest that The Fourth Wall uses the conceit of a parallel between the heroine and Shaw's Saint Joan, a device currently put to infinitely better use in Lanford Wilson's Book of Days.
intriguing, stimulating, interesting, fascinating, colourful, exciting, arresting, lively, sparkling, spirited, witty, spicy, provocative, racy, salty
informal juicy



Pronunciation: /ˈpiːkɒntli/
Pronunciation: /ˈpiːkəntli/
Example sentences
  • In this well-written, lively, evocative memoir, she has produced a work that is as piquantly entertaining as her rasam recipe.
  • Sillito and the Academy give the agile and melting Petri excellent support, and while the engineering is warm, it allows the piquantly penetrating characters of the recorders to come through.
  • What piquantly captured the imagination of each, from competitor to consumer-to straw boss to newly outsourced consultant, was how all-inclusive the bench warrant was.


Early 16th century (in the sense 'severe, bitter'): from French, literally 'stinging, pricking', present participle of piquer.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pi|quant

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.