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 pitiably (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 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 What makes a village like Kyamajaka seem so pitiable, and a town like Bulindi seem so important, is that in those two places the future has arrived. David Quammen, National Geographic, "‘I am scared all the time’: Chimps and people are clashing in rural Uganda," 8 Nov. 2019 The rest of the film puts his madness on plain and pitiable display. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Joker: An Honest Treatment of Madness," 12 Oct. 2019 The inhabitants came to the rescue, and treated the pitiable survivors with kindness. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A storm exposed children’s bones on a Canadian beach, reviving a 170-year-old mystery," 13 June 2019 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

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pitiable

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pitiable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pitiable?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=p&file=pitiab01. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for pitiable


How to pronounce pitiable (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on pitiable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pitiable

Spanish Central: Translation of pitiable

Nglish: Translation of pitiable for Spanish Speakers

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