Synonym Chooser

How is the word pathetic distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of pathetic are affecting, impressive, moving, poignant, and touching. While all these words mean "having the power to produce deep emotion," pathetic implies moving to pity or sometimes contempt.

pathetic attempts to justify misconduct

How are the words affecting and moving related as synonyms of pathetic?

Affecting is close to moving but most often suggests pathos.

an affecting deathbed reunion

When can impressive be used instead of pathetic?

In some situations, the words impressive and pathetic are roughly equivalent. However, impressive implies compelling attention, admiration, wonder, or conviction.

an impressive list of achievements

When is moving a more appropriate choice than pathetic?

The synonyms moving and pathetic are sometimes interchangeable, but moving may apply to any strong emotional effect including thrilling, agitating, saddening, or calling forth pity or sympathy.

a moving appeal for contributions

When could poignant be used to replace pathetic?

While in some cases nearly identical to pathetic, poignant applies to what keenly or sharply affects one's sensitivities.

a poignant documentary on the homeless

Where would touching be a reasonable alternative to pathetic?

Although the words touching and pathetic have much in common, touching implies arousing tenderness or compassion.

the touching innocence in a child's eyes

Thesaurus Entries Near pathetic

Cite this Entry

“Pathetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pathetic. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on pathetic

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!