piti·​able | \ ˈpi-tē-ə-bəl How to pronounce pitiable (audio) \

Definition of pitiable

1 : deserving or exciting pity : lamentable pitiable victims
2 : of a kind to evoke mingled pity and contempt especially because of inadequacy a pitiable excuse

Other Words from pitiable

pitiableness noun
pitiably \ ˈpi-​tē-​ə-​blē How to pronounce pitiable (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for pitiable

contemptible, despicable, pitiable, sorry, scurvy mean arousing or deserving scorn. contemptible may imply any quality provoking scorn or a low standing in any scale of values. a contemptible liar despicable may imply utter worthlessness and usually suggests arousing an attitude of moral indignation. a despicable crime pitiable applies to what inspires mixed contempt and pity. a pitiable attempt at tragedy sorry may stress pitiable inadequacy or may suggest wretchedness or sordidness. this rattletrap is a sorry excuse for a car scurvy adds to despicable an implication of arousing disgust. a scurvy crew of hangers-on

Examples of pitiable in a Sentence

the sales presentation was a pitiable display of ineptitude and disorganization a pitiable attempt at singing that generated snickers
Recent Examples on the Web Ukrainians are perfectly capable of writing Russian correctly, but during the war some internet commentators have spelled the occasional Russian word using the Ukrainian writing system, leaving it looking unmoored and pitiable. New York Times, 22 Apr. 2022 The third week of Russia’s war on Ukraine shows, like its predecessors, gallant resistance, pitiable suffering, and slow Russian progress. Nr Editors, National Review, 17 Mar. 2022 The dogs will walk back and forth along the circumference of their pitiable circle, compulsively, like death-row inmates pacing their cells. Gene Weingarten, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2021 Remember that Nike spoof, Eris running shoes, about a pitiable boy who works in a sweatshop and accidentally sews his hands together? Ade D. Adeniji, Wired, 27 Oct. 2021 But as with most of Binoche’s vulnerable characters, Tereza is never pitiable. Susan Dominus Photographs By Joshua Kissi Styled By Ian Bradley Sasha Weiss Photographs By Collier Schorr Styled By Jay Massacret Megan O’grady Portrait By Mickalene Thomas And Racquel Chevremont Ligaya Mishan Photographs By Tina Barney, New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021 Shane Vogel: The characters are almost pitiable in their effort to create some kind of routine or rhythm to occupy themselves and avoid thinking about the absurdity of their situation. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 12 Sep. 2021 In those places as elsewhere, Internet connections are pitiable, roads beyond the highways often are tortuous, and the refugees to brighter prospects out of state tend to be younger, better educated and better trained. David M. Shribman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 July 2021 Tanya is too pitiable to die in a comedy; Mark is too vapid to go in a drama. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 11 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of pitiable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of pitiable was in the 15th century

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pithy gall



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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pitiable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pitiable. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for pitiable


piti·​able | \ ˈpi-tē-ə-bəl How to pronounce pitiable (audio) \

Kids Definition of pitiable

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Nglish: Translation of pitiable for Spanish Speakers


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