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90s Slang You Should Know


[pit-ee-ing] /ˈpɪt i ɪŋ/
full of or expressing pity:
a pitying look.
Origin of pitying
First recorded in 1640-50; pity + -ing2
Related forms
pityingly, adverb
unpitying, adjective


[pit-ee] /ˈpɪt i/
noun, plural pities.
sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy:
to feel pity for astarving child.
a cause or reason for pity, sorrow, or regret:
What a pity you could not go!
Informal. motivated by a sense of pity or sympathy for others or for oneself:
to have pity sex with a virgin; to go on a pity date with a loser.
verb (used with object), pitied, pitying.
to feel pity or compassion for; be sorry for; commiserate with.
verb (used without object), pitied, pitying.
to have compassion; feel pity.
have / take pity, to show mercy or compassion.
1175-1225; Middle English pite < Old French pite, earlier pitet < Latin pietāt- (stem of pietās) piety
Related forms
outpity, verb (used with object), outpitied, outpitying.
unpitied, adjective
1. commiseration, compassion. See sympathy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pitying
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Jupiter, pitying her isolation and admiring her beauty, resolved to go down and converse with her for a little while.

    Myths of Greece and Rome H. A. Guerber
  • Yes,” said Dale, with a pitying look at his companion, “I heard that.

    The Crystal Hunters George Manville Fenn
  • Fingerlings he keeps, and does not return to the water “as pitying their youth.”

    Angling Sketches Andrew Lang
  • Melville looked up at his mother as if pitying her ignorance.

    The Hindered Hand Sutton E. Griggs
  • Her tingling smart of madness and anger passed, leaving her penitent and pitying.

    Captivity M. Leonora Eyles
  • With a pitying smile, she folded her hands across her stomach.

    The Panchronicon Harold Steele Mackaye
  • Morlene, taking advantage of his abstraction, bestowed on him an unreserved look of pitying love.

    Unfettered Sutton E. Griggs
British Dictionary definitions for pitying


noun (pl) pities
sympathy or sorrow felt for the sufferings of another
have pity on, take pity on, to have sympathy or show mercy for
something that causes regret or pity
an unfortunate chance: what a pity you can't come
more's the pity, it is highly regrettable (that)
verb pities, pitying, pitied
(transitive) to feel pity for
Derived Forms
pitying, adjective
pityingly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French pité, from Latin pietās duty
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 pitying



early 13c., from Old French pite, pitet "pity, mercy, compassion, care, tenderness; pitiful state, wretched condition" (11c., Modern French pitié), from Latin pietatem (nominative pietas) "piety, loyalty, duty" (see piety). Replaced Old English mildheortness, literally "mild-heartness," itself a loan-translation of Latin misericordia. English pity and piety were not fully distinguished until 17c. Transferred sense of "grounds or cause for pity" is from late 14c.


"to feel pity for," late 15c., from Old French pitier and from pity (n.). Related: Pitied; pitying.



"to feel pity for," late 15c., from Old French pitier and from pity (n.). Related: Pitied; pitying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with pitying
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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