\ 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


pitied; pitying

Definition of pity (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to feel pity for

intransitive verb

: to feel pity

Choose the Right Synonym for pity


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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Patty sees a cash cow from the sympathy viewership, SVN star Jackie (Molly Shannon) sees a young woman who needs nurturing, and the rest of network sees someone to pity. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2022 Taking pity on the poor man, the Kennedy presidential library gave it instead this week to Liz Cheney, Volodymyr Zelensky, and three other suckers. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 22 Apr. 2022 Since Vladimir Putin loosed Russian troops on Ukraine, there hasn’t been much pity for Russian oligarchs, who have seen their funds seized with alacrity. Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2022 But the pictures in Salih’s series continually disrupt expectations of young refugees as benighted figures or objects of pity. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, 28 Mar. 2022 Initially, the plot seems to be set up for Cameron to throw himself a pity party in the most obnoxiously twee way imaginable. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Mar. 2022 Dear Carolyn: This isn’t a pity party, just a conundrum. Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2022 Rivian joined the pity party Wednesday, telling customers that inflation and higher parts costs required hiking its electric truck’s price tag by $12,000, pushing the final total above $80,000. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 3 Mar. 2022 There can be a lot of self pity and a lot of challenges. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So my grandmother knew that if we weren’t circumcised, people would pity us. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Aug. 2021 When things don’t go well, the audience is meant to pity her as just another victim of Leighton Meester’s queen bee, Blair Waldorf. Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2021 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, 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, 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, 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, 16 Apr. 2020 For this reason everybody pitied them no less than the sufferers. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 30 Mar. 2020 But whether Cardinals fans were mocking or pitying Cubs fans, the feeling of superiority was widespread. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, 30 July 2019 See More

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.

First Known Use of pity


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for pity


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

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Time Traveler for pity

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

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pity. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for pity


\ 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.


pitied; pitying

Kids Definition of pity (Entry 2 of 2)

: to feel sadness and sympathy for

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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