piti·​able | \ˈpi-tē-ə-bəl \

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

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Other Words from pitiable

pitiableness noun
pitiably \ ˈpi-​tē-​ə-​blē \ 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

There's a tedium to the sort of repetition that merely rehashes and recycles the same wink-wink barbs that worked the first time around — but also a relatable, even pitiable humanity in the film's desperation to be liked. Jen Yamato, latimes.com, "Snark conquers all in 'Deadpool 2,' a superhero sequel that's more of the same," 15 May 2018 But when that friend overdosed, the user was suddenly no longer a pitiable drug addict but an evil murderer. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 What the Bachelorette needs to be above all is a woman the audience wants to root for—pitiable, but not pathetic. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Cazzie David Should Be the Next Bachelorette: A Proposal," 10 July 2018 And for a while, the murders provide good, amoral fun—because a computer chip is doing all the work, Grey can remain a sympathetic, even pitiable hero. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Upgrade is so derivative, it’s original," 14 June 2018 This swerving tone—from blithe to pitiable, humorous to harrowing—works well in the books, when we are glued to Patrick’s side and treated to his acid tongue and exquisite descriptions. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "Is Patrick Melrose Too Glamorous?," 17 May 2018 One of the most pitiable characters in contemporary theater, her struggle at the hands of a succession of brutal and abusive men, is the very heart and soul of the musical. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "Saenger's essential revival of 'Color Purple' well worth revisiting," 21 Feb. 2018 There’ll also be a dunk tank with a pitiable fan in pinstripes being plunged every time someone with the accuracy of Kelly hits the target. Mark Shanahan, BostonGlobe.com, "PawSox bring MLB rivalry to McCoy Stadium," 20 Apr. 2018 The warehouses of companies like Lidl and Amazon combine hyper-regulated, mentally and physically exhausting work with ruthless metrics and pitiable pay. David Sessions, The New Republic, "The Meaning of American Factories," 2 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of pitiable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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pithy gall





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

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English Language Learners Definition of pitiable

: deserving pity or sympathy


piti·​able | \ˈpi-tē-ə-bəl \

Kids Definition of pitiable

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Comments on pitiable

What made you want to look up pitiable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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