Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[pit-ee-uh-buh l] /ˈpɪt i ə bəl/
evoking or deserving pity; lamentable:
pitiable, homeless children.
evoking or deserving contemptuous pity; miserable; contemptible:
a pitiable lack of character.
Origin of pitiable
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Old French piteable, equivalent to pite(er) to pity + -able -able
Related forms
pitiableness, noun
pitiably, adverb
unpitiable, adjective
unpitiably, adverb
Can be confused
piteous, pitiable, pitiful (see synonym study at pitiful)
1, 2. See pitiful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for pitiable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then her condition will be just as pitiable as that of Europe.

    Indian Home Rule M. K. Gandhi
  • His state was pitiable, and I felt that at any cost I must save him.

    Once a Week Alan Alexander Milne
  • pitiable, but not half so pitiable as the death of a human soul by sin.

    Town and Country Sermons Charles Kingsley
  • How had it come about that they were now in this pitiable condition?

    One Snowy Night Emily Sarah Holt
  • Their infatuation had therefore its pitiable as well as its outrageous aspect.

    The Cradle of the Christ Octavius Brooks Frothingham
  • Each contestant was covered with blood, and presented a pitiable sight.

    Under Fire Frank A. Munsey
British Dictionary definitions for pitiable


exciting or deserving pity or contempt
Derived Forms
pitiableness, noun
pitiably, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pitiable

mid-15c., "merciful, compassionate," from Old French piteable "compassionate, merciful, pious" (13c.; Modern French pitoyable), from piteer "to pity" (see pity). Meaning "deserving pity" is recorded from late 15c. Related: Pitiably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for pitiable

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pitiable

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for pitiable