Definition of pathetic
patheticalplay \-ti-kəl\ adjective
patheticallyplay \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples of pathetic in a sentence
The spectacle seen in the theater of the news presented the American President as a failed suppliant instead of a conquering hero—an ailing and pathetic figure dismissed with the smile of pity and the gift of some sweet candies shaped as miniature sculptures of the President's two dogs. —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, March 1992
They were brave, and bravely she served them a pathetic meal of nothing but limitless bowls of little potatoes boiled in their jackets … —M. F. K. Fisher, With Bold Knife and Fork, 1969
Her face looked pale and extinguished, as if dimmed by the rich red of her dress. She struck Archer, of a sudden, as a pathetic and even pitiful figure. —Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence, 1920
The blind, old dog was a pathetic sight.
The team was pretty bad last year, but this year they're downright pathetic.
The story he told was a pathetic attempt to cover up a lie.
His car is a pathetic piece of junk.
Origin and Etymology of pathetic
Medieval French or Late Latin; Medieval French pathetique, from Late Latin patheticus, from Greek pathētikos capable of feeling, pathetic, from paschein (aorist pathein) to experience, suffer — more at pathos
First Known Use: 1591
Synonym Discussion of pathetic
PATHETIC Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pathetic for English Language Learners
: causing feelings of sadness and sympathy
: very bad, poor, weak, etc.
PATHETIC Defined for Kids
Definition of pathetic for Students
: causing feelings of pity, tenderness, or sorrow “You talk about some pathetic, tortured-looking little faces.” — Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up pathetic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).