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

But for once, this character evokes something like the pity and terror of classical tragedy. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Women Set London’s Stages Ablaze," 9 July 2018 The collective heart rallied to the mortified cuckold, whose public persona shifted overnight from stud to object of pity. Marcia Desanctis, Town & Country, "Mark Sanford, Act II," 14 Feb. 2013 Alone, Zain wanders the streets of Beirut, and eventually encounters a kindly worker, Rahil, at an amusement park, who takes pity on him and brings him home. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "In Capernaum, Nadine Labaki Visits Some of the Most Miserable Places on Earth—And Turns It Into Art," 14 Dec. 2018 Plus, there’s the pity factor that comes with any label. Nancy Richardson Fischer, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Power of Not Naming My Disorder," 3 Dec. 2018 The organizers take pity on us and pull an extra table over and scrounge up two chairs. Annemarie Conte, Woman's Day, "Why the 'Gilmore Girls' Fan Festival Is the Ultimate Friends Weekend Getaway," 26 Oct. 2018 The story certainly plays up the distant, forbidding Alaskan setting, where the sun sets at 3:30PM, the temperatures are lethal, and Medora regards Russell’s ordinary outdoor survival gear with something between contempt and pity. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Netflix’s Hold the Dark throws Jeffrey Wright to the wolves," 28 Sep. 2018 One, badly injured, rides an exhausted horse that competes for our pity. M.j. Andersen, WSJ, "‘Mutiny: Works by Géricault’ Review: Equine Passions and Anxieties," 8 Sep. 2018 In every man there is hidden some root of despair because in every man there is pride that vegetates and springs weeds and rank flowers of self-pity as soon as our own resources fail us. . . . J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Paul Schrader’s First Reformed finds pride at the root of despair," 24 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And because the basic emotional core of their relationship is based on friendship rather than betrayal, the audience can relax and sink into the fun of the story without getting distracted by pitying the character who’s being fooled. Constance Grady, Vox, "To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before," 25 Aug. 2018 By Sunday, after the Bulls officially matched the offer sheet, LaVine was walking back or walking around his previous self-pitying statement. Steve Rosenbloom, chicagotribune.com, "Why the Bulls had no choice but to match Zach LaVine’s offer sheet," 9 July 2018 This Australian comedy blends emotional sob sessions with witty one-liners, leaving you pitying and laughing at the new parents. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Saturday: ‘The Letdown’ and ‘Indivisible’," 21 Apr. 2018 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

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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Dictionary Entries near pity

pitwood

pitwork

pitwright

pity

pitying

Pitylus

pityocampa

Statistics for pity

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on pity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pity

Spanish Central: Translation of pity

Nglish: Translation of pity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pity for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pity

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