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[pit-i-lis, pit-ee-] /ˈpɪt ɪ lɪs, ˈpɪt i-/
feeling or showing no pity; merciless:
pitiless criticism of his last novel.
Origin of pitiless
late Middle English
First recorded in 1375-1425, pitiless is from the late Middle English word piteles. See pity, -less
Related forms
pitilessly, adverb
pitilessness, noun
unmerciful, implacable, relentless.
Synonym Study
See cruel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pitilessly
Historical Examples
  • She felt as if Felicia had put a gash across her face and as if he were pitilessly jibing at it.

    Paths of Judgement Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • Only her brain seemed on fire, so pitilessly, so horribly alive had it become.

    Virginia Ellen Glasgow
  • Where doubtless Cromwell ploughed it up, in his young days, pitilessly; and in nowise pausing, as Burns beside his fallen daisy.

    Proserpina, Volume 2 John Ruskin
  • He had pitilessly resolved not to repeat the folly of the previous month.

    Mademoiselle Olympe Zabriski Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • The kloof was strewn with bodies of khakies, who were sent up as reinforcement and pitilessly shot down by the burghers.

    On Commando Dietlof Van Warmelo
  • She was being dressed for a ball, and the room was pitilessly light.

    The Very Small Person Annie Hamilton Donnell
  • Formerly he had pitilessly enforced his own, compelling the girl of fifteen to wed a man many years her senior.

    Joshua, Complete Georg Ebers
  • He had never heard anything so pitilessly strident in his life.

    Within the Tides Joseph Conrad
  • When his team-mates discovered the failing––and this was immediately––they pitilessly worried his hind legs.

    Billy Topsail & Company Norman Duncan
  • "You're a—beauty, that's what you are," he said, pitilessly.

British Dictionary definitions for pitilessly


having or showing little or no pity or mercy
Derived Forms
pitilessly, adverb
pitilessness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for pitilessly



early 15c., from pity + -less. Related: Pitilessly; pitilessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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