[ puh-thet-ik ]
/ pəˈθɛt ɪk /
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causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, etc.; pitiful; pitiable: Conditions at the refugee camp were far more pathetic than anything our training had prepared us for.
Informal. miserably or contemptibly inadequate: In return for our investment we get a pathetic three percent interest. The carpenter we hired is pathetic.
Archaic. pertaining to, caused by, or affecting the emotions: pathetic outbursts.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
Sometimes pa·thet·i·cal .

Origin of pathetic

First recorded in 1590–1600; from Middle French pathétique or from Late Latin pathēticus, from Greek pathētikós “capable of emotion, impassioned, sensitive,” equivalent to pathēt(ós) “subject to suffering; one who has suffered; subject to external influence or change; (in medicine) diseased” (derivative of páschein “to suffer”) + -ikos adjective suffix; see -ic
bathetic, pathetic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for pathetic

/ (pəˈθɛtɪk) /


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

pl n

pathetic sentiments
pathetically, adverb
C16: from French pathétique, via Late Latin from Greek pathetikos sensitive, from pathos suffering; see pathos
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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