- causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, etc.; pitiful; pitiable: a pathetic letter; a pathetic sight.
- affecting or moving the emotions.
- pertaining to or caused by the emotions.
- miserably or contemptibly inadequate: In return for our investment we get a pathetic three percent interest.
Origin of pathetic
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pathetical
Our old vicar preached, taking leave of the parish in a pathetical speech, to go to a living in the city.The Diary of John Evelyn (Vol 1 of 2)
How pathetical seemed to her the ignorance of the two men who were her companions in the cloistered house at this time.Tongues of Conscience
Robert Smythe Hichens
For what is a heap of the most pathetical words to God Almighty; or the dedication of any place or time to him?
A most weighty and pathetical discourse: they that know anything of God may savour something divine in it.
And then, having finished this pathetical little story of his misfortune, Mr. Mollett senior finished his glass of toddy.Castle Richmond
- evoking or expressing pity, sympathy, etc
- distressingly inadequatethe old man sat huddled in front of a pathetic fire
- British informal ludicrously or contemptibly uninteresting or worthlessthe standard of goalkeeping in amateur football today is pathetic
- obsolete of or affecting the feelings
- pathetic sentiments
Word Origin and History for pathetical
1590s, "affecting the emotions, exciting the passions," from Middle French pathétique "moving, stirring, affecting" (16c.), from Late Latin patheticus, from Greek pathetikos "subject to feeling, sensitive, capable of emotion," from pathetos "liable to suffer," verbal adjective of pathein "to suffer" (see pathos). Meaning "arousing pity, pitiful" is first recorded 1737. Colloquial sense of "so miserable as to be ridiculous" is attested from 1937. Related: Pathetical (1570s); pathetically. Pathetic fallacy (1856, first used by Ruskin) is the attribution of human qualities to inanimate objects.