pit·​e·​ous ˈpi-tē-əs How to pronounce piteous (audio)
: of a kind to move to pity or compassion
piteously adverb
piteousness noun

Examples of piteous in a Sentence

The child cried out in a piteous voice. a piteous beggar huddled in the doorway of an abandoned building
Recent Examples on the Web The word integral seemed to me particularly poignant, piteous. Joyce Carol Oates, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 Because the Grammys telecast draws generations of viewers, and because Grammy voters are drawn from a wide pool that skews older, what emerges on the show, and in the awards themselves, is a kind of piteous compromise that holds real innovation at bay. New York Times, 4 Apr. 2022 Later, Ivy interrogates Felix about having strayed dangerously from the straight-and-narrow, a confrontation that is agonizing to watch, as Mr. Torres’s performance gains in both piteous despair and angry ferocity. Charles Isherwood, WSJ, 17 Nov. 2022 In roaring luxury markets from Manhattan to San Francisco over the past few years, buyers were a piteous bunch. Katy McLaughlin, WSJ, 6 Mar. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'piteous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of piteous was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near piteous

Cite this Entry

“Piteous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piteous. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


pit·​e·​ous ˈpit-ē-əs How to pronounce piteous (audio)
: of a kind to move to pity
piteous cries for help
piteously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on piteous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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