ba·​thet·​ic | \ bə-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce bathetic (audio) \

Definition of bathetic

: characterized by bathos

Other Words from bathetic

bathetically \ bə-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce bathetic (audio) \ adverb

Did you know?

When English speakers turned apathy into apathetic in the late 17th century, using the suffix -etic to turn the noun into the adjective, they were inspired by pathetic, the adjectival form of pathos, from Greek pathētikos. People also applied that bit of linguistic transformation to coin bathetic. English speakers added the suffix -etic to bathos, the Greek word for "depth," which in English has come to mean "triteness" or "excessive sentimentalism." The result: the ideal adjective for the incredibly commonplace or the overly sentimental.

Examples of bathetic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The disorienting sentences, the deceptively plain declarations of fact, the perpetual sense of a great unraveling, the bathetic juxtapositions of social nonsense and bottomless anxiety—all are perfectly calibrated to our age of ecological dread. Nathaniel Rich, The New York Review of Books, 7 Oct. 2021 Characters meet brutal, untimely, bathetic deaths, which may or may not slow them down. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 Although an ugly personal wrangle forms the bathetic close of their joint story, Conan Doyle’s integrity shines through. Alexandra Mullen, WSJ, 26 July 2018 Timothée Chamalet and Armie Hammer are superb in the central roles, and despite an unignorable bathetic turn in the supporting performances, this is an important film. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bathetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bathetic

1845, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bathetic

bathos + -etic (in pathetic)

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The first known use of bathetic was in 1845

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Dictionary Entries Near bathetic

bathed in sweat



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Cite this Entry

“Bathetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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