piti·​less ˈpi-ti-ləs How to pronounce pitiless (audio)
: devoid of pity : harsh, cruel
pitilessly adverb
pitilessness noun

Example Sentences

The soldiers were pitiless toward their enemy. gave the beggar in the street a pitiless look and kept on walking
Recent Examples on the Web The pitiless tragedy of his two pointless wars (along with the financial crash that capped off his reign) may have pushed this from our memories, but Bush’s first violent incursion was an assault on the logic of bodily autonomy. Ana Marie Cox, The New Republic, 3 Apr. 2023 Yet what happens when power descends, razing that village to the ground and remaking it in its own pitiless image? Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2023 There is brief room here for men too, as both pitiless detractors and vague supporters of Hilma’s work. Tomris Laffly, Variety, 30 Mar. 2023 Out in the woods, under the pelting of a pitiless storm, a middle-aged American male, stripped to the waist, fights a furious bear. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 24 Feb. 2023 The number of casualties is not yet known — and the Kremlin denies targeting civilians — but experts say the incident is an indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned to a familiar and pitiless playbook. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 18 Mar. 2022 One’s eye is at first dazzled, then sated, and eventually tired by this pitiless inflation of scale. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 22 Oct. 2021 Nabokov started to seem less like a lovable, bumbling Professor Pnin and more like a pitiless White Russian with a monocle and an ebony cigarette holder. Ian Frazier, The New Yorker, 7 Dec. 2020 Soon friends chimed in with their own artifacts, surviving examples of Washington’s pitiless retail ecosystem. Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pitiless.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pitiless was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near pitiless

Cite this Entry

“Pitiless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pitiless. Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


piti·​less ˈpit-i-ləs How to pronounce pitiless (audio)
: having no pity : harsh, cruel
pitilessly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on pitiless

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