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Is there any adjective in English that could describe a question (or a remark, an assessment) that is the perfect and the most pertinent question to ask in a given situation, hits the nail right on the head, thus steering the conversation onto the right track?

I'm looking for a clean way to express Japanese ズバリ (as in: ズバリな質問). The literal dictionary translation is: "1. decisively; decidedly; boldly; once and for all; unreservedly; frankly 2. precisely; exactly". I've tried looking up that word in the dictionary and scrolling through a bunch of example sentences, but I can't find a single word solution.

For instance: 彼の言葉はズバリ急所を言い当てた。=> "His remark hit home." The issue is that the word comes as a descriptor of his remarks here, so I'm looking for a single-word equivalent that fits that role: "His remark was ________"

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  • What are the English example sentences you've found? Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 7:55
  • And what is the literal translation of the Japanese?
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 8:16
  • For instance: 彼の言葉はズバリ急所を言い当てた。=> "His remark hit home." The issue is that the word comes as a descriptor of his remarks here, so I'm looking for an equivalent that fits that role. The literal dictionary translation is: "1. decisively; decidedly; boldly; once and for all; unreservedly; frankly 2. precisely; exactly" Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 8:27
  • Thanks: I've added that to the question. Please bear in mind for the future that questions need to stand on their own, and should not rely on additional information buried in comments. (Comments ask for clarification: the question should be edited to make it clearer.) However, note that the headline and first paragraph mention "question that is right on the nail" and the rest of the text uses "remark", which is a statement. Perhaps you could edit the question to clear up that confusion.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 8:56
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    I think apposite is apposite. Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 12:58

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arresting adj OED

That arrests; that takes hold of the attention; striking.

As in: Let Justice Roll: Prophetic Challenges in Religion, Politics, and Society GoogleBooks

Walker Percy asks, and it is an arresting question for an age in which attaining happiness has become something like a point of honor.

As a police arrest, when something is arresting, it captures your attention because it is incisive, bold and mesmerizing.

Incisive would work for this question too.

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  • Yes, incisive! That's definitely it, feels similar enough. Thank you. Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 16:44

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