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

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

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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.

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More Definitions for pitiful


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


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