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Poignant denotes touching and significant, but typically with a negative connotation.
Is there a word that means the same, but has a positive connotation?

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closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, tchrist, Mitch, Kristina Lopez, Zairja Jun 26 '14 at 18:50

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This question appears to be off-topic because it is based on the misconception that poignant has negative connotations. – FumbleFingers Jun 26 '14 at 15:17
possible duplicate of What's the difference between "harrowing" and "poignant"? – Matt Gutting Jun 26 '14 at 15:50
Have you done a thesaurus search on "poignant"? I'll bet there are other words or phrases that may have a slightly different flavor - such as "heart-felt moment", "touching", "meaningful", etc. – Kristina Lopez Jun 26 '14 at 16:08

As far as I know, poignant does have a positive connotation, meaning something that is moving or touching but also slightly painful. One wouldn't describe an event as a 'poignant tribute' if it had a negative connotation.

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Agreed. There is no negative connotation to poignant. Words that have a negative connotation are words like mawkish, blubbery, even sentimental. – FeliniusRex Jun 26 '14 at 15:18
The negativity is in the sadness (cf heart-rending) of poignancy, which normally refers to the past; there is always some regret in reviewing the past, and that's part of being poignant. But not necessarily a big part, I agree. – John Lawler Jun 26 '14 at 16:52
@FeliniusRex: Or lugubrious. Don – rhetorician Jun 26 '14 at 21:10

How about heart-warming? Others which spring to mind include

  • tender

  • touching

  • heart-rending

  • evocative

  • soul-stirring

  • pathos (This is a tricky one. A cognate, pathetic, has a negative connotation, but the word pathos can be neutral or positive in both denotation and connotation. It is one of the three modes of persuasion, according to Aristotle. Its counterpart--and negative-connotation word--would be bathos.)

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heart-rending seems a lot more 'negative' than the original. – Oldcat Jun 26 '14 at 23:48
@Oldcat: Not sure I agree with you, but then that could be because I've never heard it used in a negative fashion in my limited sphere of experience! To me, the pictures of poor, starving, swollen-bellied children in a TV commercial for a charitable organization are truly heart-rending. Same goes for the Human Society's commercial with pictures of abandoned and abused dogs, with sad music playing in the background. I have to turn the channel. To me: heart rending. Don – rhetorician Jun 27 '14 at 0:25
The imagery is that of tearing your heart in half like a piece of cloth - as in rending your garments in anguish. Whereas the imagery from poignant is that of a prick like a thorn, or a sting. The former seems more severe. If you want to avoid the sting, surely you'd want to avoid being torn in half. – Oldcat Jun 27 '14 at 0:33
@Oldcat: Unless I have a split personality! Point taken, by the way. Don – rhetorician Jun 27 '14 at 0:40

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