Synonym Chooser

How is the word pitiable different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of pitiable are contemptible, despicable, scurvy, and sorry. While all these words mean "arousing or deserving scorn," pitiable applies to what inspires mixed contempt and pity.

a pitiable attempt at tragedy

When might contemptible be a better fit than pitiable?

The synonyms contemptible and pitiable are sometimes interchangeable, but contemptible may imply any quality provoking scorn or a low standing in any scale of values.

a contemptible liar

In what contexts can despicable take the place of pitiable?

The words despicable and pitiable are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, despicable may imply utter worthlessness and usually suggests arousing an attitude of moral indignation.

a despicable crime

How are the words scurvy and despicable related as synonyms of pitiable?

Scurvy adds to despicable an implication of arousing disgust.

a scurvy crew of hangers-on

When is sorry a more appropriate choice than pitiable?

The meanings of sorry and pitiable largely overlap; however, sorry may stress pitiable inadequacy or may suggest wretchedness or sordidness.

this rattletrap is a sorry excuse for a car

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Cite this Entry

“Pitiable.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pitiable. Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

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