1 : an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion
2 : an emotion of sympathetic pity
Did You Know?
The Greek word pathos means "suffering," "experience," or "emotion." It was borrowed into English in the 16th century, and for English speakers, the term usually refers to the emotions produced by tragedy or a depiction of tragedy. Pathos has quite a few kin in English. Pathetic is used to describe things that move us to pity. Empathy is the ability to feel the emotions of another. Though pathology is not literally "the study of suffering," it is "the study of diseases." You can probably guess at more relatives of pathos. Sympathy, apathy, antipathy, sociopath, and psychopath are a few.
"Clowns have always been represented as tricksters and jokers, from the days of jesters all the way through Ronald McDonald, but the high jinks were always paired with pathos and humanity." — Vulture, 7 Sept. 2017
"The best survival movies are often harrowing; packed with loss and pathos while testing the limits of human endurance." — Mathew DeKinder, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5 Oct. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete a verb that means "to feel or express sympathy": c _ _ m _ s _ _ _ te.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP