Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tangy and Pungent: the mystery solved

Because some folks just don't believe you when you tell them.

Main Entry: pun·gent
Pronunciation: -j&nt
Function: adjective
Etymology: L pungent-, pungens, present participle of pungere to prick, sting; akin to Latin pugnus fist, pugnare to fight, Greek pygmE fist
1 : sharply painful
2 : having a stiff and sharp point
3 a : marked by a sharp incisive quality : CAUSTIC < a pungent critic> b : being sharp and to the point
4 : causing a sharp or irritating sensation; especially : ACRID
- pun·gent·ly adverb
synonyms PUNGENT, PIQUANT, POIGNANT, RACY mean sharp and stimulating to the mind or the senses. PUNGENT implies a sharp, stinging, or biting quality especially of odors < a cheese with a pungent odor>. PIQUANT suggests a power to whet the appetite or interest through tartness or mild pungency < a piquant sauce>. POIGNANT suggests something is sharply or piercingly effective in stirring one's consciousness or emotions . RACY implies having a strongly characteristic natural quality fresh and unimpaired .

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
One entry found for tangy.

Main Entry: tangy
Pronunciation: 'ta[ng]-E
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): tang·i·er; -est
: having or suggestive of a tang

And because I don't believe in just leaving the masses hanging:

Main Entry: 1tang
Pronunciation: 'ta[ng]
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse tangi point of land, tang
1 : a projecting shank, prong, fang, or tongue (as on a knife, file, or sword) to connect with the handle
2 a : a sharp distinctive often lingering flavor b : a pungent odor c : something having the effect of a tang (as in stimulation of the senses)
3 a : a faint suggestion : TRACE b : a distinguishing characteristic that sets apart or gives a special individuality

Therefore, both pungent and tangy can be used to describe both smell and taste as something sharp, strong, and possibly somewhat unpleasant. Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-boo-boo.

Thank you Miss Mariam-Webster. Once again your efforts have enlightened the dim and elevated the gutter-bound. :-)

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