pity

2 of 2

verb

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun pity contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of pity are commiseration, compassion, condolence, and sympathy. While all these words 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

When is it sensible to use commiseration instead of pity?

The words commiseration and pity can be used in similar contexts, but commiseration suggests pity expressed outwardly in exclamations, tears, or words of comfort.

murmurs of commiseration filled the loser's headquarters

When can compassion be used instead of pity?

While in some cases nearly identical to pity, compassion implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid or to spare.

treats the homeless with great compassion

When might condolence be a better fit than pity?

The synonyms condolence and pity are sometimes interchangeable, but condolence applies chiefly to formal expression of grief to one who has suffered loss.

expressed their condolences to the widow

When could sympathy be used to replace pity?

In some situations, the words sympathy and pity are roughly equivalent. However, 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

Thesaurus Entries Near pity

Cite this Entry

“Pity.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pity. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on pity

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ