pitiful

adjective
piti·​ful | \ ˈpi-ti-fəl How to pronounce pitiful (audio) \

Definition of pitiful

1 archaic : full of pity : compassionate
2a : deserving or arousing pity or commiseration
b : exciting pitying contempt (as by meanness or inadequacy) pitiful wages

Other Words from pitiful

pitifully \ ˈpi-​ti-​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pitiful (audio) \ adverb
pitifulness \ ˈpi-​ti-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce pitiful (audio) \ noun

Examples of pitiful in a Sentence

She made a pitiful attempt to complete her work. that piece of junk is a pitiful excuse for a car
Recent Examples on the Web Though becoming an e-assassin may seem like old hat, Skyrim’s pitiful group of undeniably charming merry murderers deserves a revisit. Wired, 5 July 2022 Perhaps the biggest improvement could be the battery life, which has been pitiful in previous models of Apple Watch, maxing out at around 18 hours. Wired, 10 July 2022 The state of music journalism in 2022 is pitiful and depressing. Steve Baltin, Forbes, 1 June 2022 But, as anyone who has run the gauntlet of fertility treatment knows, that coverage is often pitiful and hard-won. Kate Willsky, ELLE, 30 Apr. 2022 The women, meanwhile, are reduced to modish caricature: Gertrude, sung by Sarah Connolly, assumes arch poses, while Ophelia, played by Brenda Rae, lurches from pitiful fretting to orgasmic writhing. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 Most everybody dismissed the poor, pitiful Miami Heat as mere cannon fodder for the Celts after Boston dominated the Heat in Games 4 and 5 of their Eastern Conference final. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 27 May 2022 Patti Aaron, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Reclamation, told CNN that this is because of several factors — and last winter’s pitiful precipitation played a large role. Angela Fritz, CNN, 26 May 2022 With the stock market continuing its slide downward and banks paying pitiful rates on checking, savings and money market accounts, people are fleeing to Series I bonds, which were created to keep pace with inflation. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, 20 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of pitiful

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About pitiful

Time Traveler for pitiful

Time Traveler

The first known use of pitiful was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near pitiful

pitier

pitiful

pitiless

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for pitiful

Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pitiful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pitiful. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for pitiful

pitiful

adjective
piti·​ful | \ ˈpi-ti-fəl How to pronounce pitiful (audio) \

Kids Definition of pitiful

1 : deserving or causing feelings of pity a pitiful sight
2 : deserving or causing a feeling of dislike or disgust by not being sufficient or good enough a pitiful excuse

Other Words from pitiful

pitifully \ -​fə-​lē , -​flē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on pitiful

Nglish: Translation of pitiful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pitiful for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!