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

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 The real pity here is that Kyrgios’ tennis is lagging behind his profile. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Mailbag: Is Current Form or Past Slam Performance a Better Indicator of Success in Majors?," 27 June 2018 Circuses, but not enough bread The pity is that neither the League nor M5S offers solutions to Italy’s real problems. The Economist, "Italy’s populists are more dangerous than they seem," 17 May 2018 What drives this franchise is the same force that drives so much culture and politics right now: the self-pity of a white man with a relentless need to be the center of attention. New York Times, "Review: ‘Deadpool 2’ Has More Swearing, Slicing and Dicing from Ryan Reynolds," 14 May 2018 The problem was that a lot of my initial cracks at writing about my past were done with a real sense of resentment and victimization and self-pity. refinery29.com, "In Unwifeable, Mandy Stadtmiller Describes What It's Like To Bare Her Darkest Secrets For A Living," 10 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

Statistics for pity

Last Updated

4 Dec 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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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

Comments on pity

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