noun \ˈpā-ˌthäs, -ˌths, -ˌthōs also ˈpa-\

: a quality that causes people to feel sympathy and sadness

Full Definition of PATHOS

:  an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion
:  an emotion of sympathetic pity

Examples of PATHOS

  1. Our knowledge of his tragic end adds an element of pathos to the story of his early success.
  2. There is a pathos to the deflated certainties that left the Washington lawyer Leonard Garment weeping, inconsolable, outside the Senate chamber as the debate was ended. —Garry Wills, New York Times Book Review, 10 Sept. 1989

Origin of PATHOS

Greek, suffering, experience, emotion, from paschein (aor. pathein) to experience, suffer; perhaps akin to Lithuanian kęsti to suffer
First Known Use: 1591

Other Literature Terms

apophasis, bathos, bildungsroman, bowdlerize, caesura, coda, doggerel, euphemism, poesy, prosody


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