pity

noun
\ ˈpi-tē \
plural pities

Definition of pity 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy

b : capacity to feel pity

2 : something to be regretted it's a pity you can't go

pity

verb
pitied; pitying

Definition of pity (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to feel pity for

intransitive verb

: to feel pity

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Choose the Right Synonym for pity

Noun

pity, compassion, commiseration, condolence, sympathy mean the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another. pity implies tender or sometimes slightly contemptuous sorrow for one in misery or distress. felt pity for the captives compassion implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid or to spare. treats the homeless with great compassion commiseration suggests pity expressed outwardly in exclamations, tears, or words of comfort. murmurs of commiseration filled the loser's headquarters condolence applies chiefly to formal expression of grief to one who has suffered loss. expressed their condolences to the widow sympathy often suggests a tender concern but can also imply a power to enter into another's emotional experience of any sort. went to my best friend for sympathy in sympathy with her desire to locate her natural parents

Examples of pity in a Sentence

Noun

She has had a hard life and deserves your pity. I felt deep pity for the lost dog. He didn't live to see his daughter grow up, and that's a pity.

Verb

I pity anyone who has to work at that place. I always pity the people who have to work in this freezing weather.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Reb Berish had taken him in more out of pity than for the fifteen dollars. Ben Taub, The New Yorker, "The Boarder," 30 Apr. 2018 Early on in Leave No Trace, Will (Ben Foster) and Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) have moved into a modest, charming home in Oregon’s countryside, with assistance from the state and from a local farmer who took pity on their situation. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Leave No Trace Is a Shattering, Essential Drama," 28 June 2018 Redemption isn’t something that happens to you when enough time has passed and enough people take pity on your financial losses. Jaya Saxena, GQ, "The Problem with Redemption," 15 June 2018 Eventually, a few police officers took pity, and instead of running them off, lent them shovels and helped them in the desperate task of digging. Mark Stevenson, Fox News, "At Guatemala volcano, families left on own to keep searching," 8 June 2018 Timberlake took pity on the search engine for its *slight* hiccup. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Justin Timberlake & Lance Bass Call Out Google for Thinking Shaquille O'Neal Is in *NSYNC," 22 May 2018 Addressing voters ahead of the 1996 election, Obando y Bravo alluded to Ortega by telling the story of a man who was bitten after taken pity on a dying snake. Washington Post, "In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega bends to Catholic Church," 16 May 2018 So pathetic was Anderson's search that another friend finally took pity and gave him a bottle from his own collection. Bob Warren, NOLA.com, "This very rare bourbon raised a lot of money for Hogs for the Cause," 12 May 2018 What prevails, specifically with regard to the security and defense concern, is the idea of ‘what a pity, what a shame.’ The British are leaving Europe at a time when the Americans are leaving the world, when Europe is more necessary than ever. William Booth And James Mcauley, Washington Post, "Europeans haven’t given up hope that Britain will change its mind on Brexit," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nor does grief for indigenous victims prevent him from pitying Spanish foot soldiers, their lives wasted on an infamous crime. Benjamin Kunkel, The New Republic, "The partisan world of Pablo Neruda," 2 July 2018 But the hyperbolic self-pitying tone of the tweet instantly highlighted the problem of viewing economic news only from the perspective of bosses, as opposed to workers. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Rising wages horrifies CNBC but delights everyone else.," 5 July 2018 But while Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin would likely pity the Indian prime minister for his meager powers, these concerns are not misplaced. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "I Think I’m Going to Kathmandu, Say the Chinese," 28 June 2018 Springsteen the songwriter pities this guy, but also sees a reflection of himself. Kenneth Partridge, Billboard, "Bruce Springsteen's 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' at 40: Nighttime, Freedom & the Eternal Chase," 2 June 2018 So pity the actress who would attempt to tackle the same role a quarter-century later, right? Yvonne Villarreal, latimes.com, "'Howards End' star Hayley Atwell was drawn to the vitality of the story exploring class differences," 19 June 2018 Not pitying ourselves over it, but finding some power in it by banding together and empowering each other. Monica Kim, Vogue, "A New Art-Fashion Label Is Exploring Asian-American Identity," 24 May 2018 The moral of the story: No one benefits from being pitied. Danielle C. Belton, The Root, "It’s an Explanation, Not an Excuse," 27 Apr. 2018 Why pity her for making her own bed and now being forced to lie in it? Ashlee Marie Preston, Teen Vogue, "Hope Hicks Isn't a Victim," 19 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pity.' 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 pity

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for pity

Noun

Middle English pite, from Anglo-French pité, from Latin pietat-, pietas piety, pity, from pius pious

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Learn More about pity

Dictionary Entries near pity

pitwood

pitwork

pitwright

pity

pitying

Pitylus

pityocampa

Phrases Related to pity

have mercy/pity

more's the pity

take pity on

Statistics for pity

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pity

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

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More Definitions for pity

pity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pity

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong feeling of sadness or sympathy for someone or something

: something that causes sadness or disappointment

pity

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pity (Entry 2 of 2)

: to feel pity for (someone or something) : to feel sorry for (someone or something)

pity

noun
\ ˈpi-tē \

Kids Definition of pity

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a feeling of sadness or sympathy for the suffering or unhappiness of others

2 : something that causes regret or disappointment What a pity that you can't go.

pity

verb
pitied; pitying

Kids Definition of pity (Entry 2 of 2)

: to feel sadness and sympathy for

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Comments on pity

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