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

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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 Heck, even polar bears, once held out as the pitiable victims of global warming, aren’t being driven to extinction. Rich Lowry, National Review, "No, Joe, We’re Not in a ‘Climate Crisis’," 22 Dec. 2020 Their offensive line gave Jackson a clean pocket against a pitiable pass rush. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Five Things We Learned from the Ravens’ 40-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars," 21 Dec. 2020 Admittedly, Oldman’s Mank — like the real one — is a pitiable figure. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "Oscar-ready ‘Mank’ a sterling portrait of 1930s Hollywood in this movie for movie lovers," 8 Dec. 2020 The language of land is largely absent or relegated to the category of pitiable platitudes. Tara Houska, Vogue, "What the Climate Movement Can Learn From Indigenous Values," 24 Sep. 2020 Their intercourse with foreigners has greatly aggravated with pitiable condition. Doug Herman, Smithsonian Magazine, "Shutting Down Hawai‘i: A Historical Perspective on Epidemics in the Islands," 25 Mar. 2020 To watch him melt down at evening’s end is a spectacle at once shocking and pitiable—and totally believable. Terry Teachout, WSJ, "‘A Soldier’s Play’ Review: Race Relations and Wartime Woes," 23 Jan. 2020 Being in love is ultimately no excuse for monstrous actions, even if Humbert Humbert insists on his pitiable and helpless thraldom to a middle-school dame sans merci. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "What ‘Henry Huggins’ and ‘Lolita’ can teach us about tolerance — and civil discourse," 1 Jan. 2020 Like Norma herself, that assumption is both arrogant and pitiable. BostonGlobe.com, "A Hollywood cautionary tale loses force in ‘Sunset Boulevard’ - The Boston Globe," 2 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for pitiable

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

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Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pitiable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pitiable. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for pitiable



English Language Learners Definition of pitiable

formal : deserving pity or sympathy


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

Kids Definition of pitiable

More from Merriam-Webster on pitiable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pitiable

Nglish: Translation of pitiable for Spanish Speakers

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