pity

noun
\ ˈpi-tē How to pronounce pity (audio) \
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 No one does sentimentality better than the Foz, while keeping the self-pity to a minimum (cough, cough KERMIT cough, cough). Rebecca Caplan, Vulture, "Muppets, Ranked," 26 Mar. 2021 Dan Rather sat in the Texas blackout without heat or power or self-pity. Washington Post, "Dan Rather on the Texas recovery — and how America can come together," 9 Mar. 2021 Instead of indulging in self-pity, guard Gadiva Hubbard said the Gophers are examining where each of them can help fill gaps. Rachel Blount, Star Tribune, "Gophers women's basketball enters Big Ten tournament opener with confidence vs. Nebraska," 9 Mar. 2021 Whether this is a literal mess or a figurative one, don’t allow yourself to get caught up in frustration or self-pity. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, "Daily horoscope for February 26, 2021," 26 Feb. 2021 Beyond that, the consequences of someone else’s bad decisions—even if those decisions have been undertaken as an attempt to alleviate great pain—can only make a character the object of our pity or, worse, our scorn. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "In Cherry, a Troubled Veteran Turns to Drugs and Crime. Everyone—Including the Audience—Suffers," 12 Mar. 2021 Stopped out of pure pity for the guy getting his melon mashed. Tom Noie, The Indianapolis Star, "Noie: Notre Dame basketball flounders in 42-point loss to UNC in ACC tournament," 11 Mar. 2021 The pity is that the focus on Mr. Becerra’s left-wing priorities and lack of healthcare experience deflects attention from the strongest reason for not confirming him. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "It’s Joe Manchin’s Moment," 1 Mar. 2021 This is a pity, as Persian statesmen and the clerical rulers have not lived unexamined lives. Washington Post, "America and Iran, from fascination to antagonism," 26 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Because our parents made a choice—the choice to migrate—few people pity them, or wonder whether restitution should be made for decades of exploitation. Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The New Yorker, "Waking Up from the American Dream," 18 Jan. 2021 And pity the fool who goes out too hard, which is a bad idea in any kind of racing but can result in severe oxygen debt at altitude in snowshoes. John Meyer, The Know, "Do you have what it takes to race in snowshoes at 10,000 feet above sea level?," 18 Feb. 2020 Cut off from his language, culture, profession and passions, stripped of his fancy degrees, bitter and self-pitying and at least said to be suicidal, Mengele always knew how history would judge him. David Margolick, WSJ, "‘Mengele’ Review: The Demon Doctor of Auschwitz," 24 Jan. 2020 Is that a way to get us to almost pity him for his professed inadequacies as a husband and father? Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'#blackAF': TV Review," 16 Apr. 2020 For this reason everybody pitied them no less than the sufferers. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, "Pandemics and the Shape of Human History," 30 Mar. 2020 But whether Cardinals fans were mocking or pitying Cubs fans, the feeling of superiority was widespread. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "‘Best fans in baseball’ show respect — for the most part — as the Cubs take a rare upper hand in their rivalry against the Cardinals," 30 July 2019 Wizardkind pities us, merest muggles, our modernities and our dependencies. Jason Kehe, Wired, "Harry Potter and the Curse of Technology," 11 Dec. 2019 In a follow-up post, Woods urged well-wishers not to pity her. Toyin Owoseje, CNN, "Model Slick Woods tells fans not to treat her 'like a victim' after revealing she's having chemotherapy," 21 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for pity

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pity

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pity. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce pity (audio) \

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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