[ puh-thet-ik ]
/ pəˈθɛt ɪk /
Save This Word!
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.
CAN YOU ANSWER THESE COMMON GRAMMAR DEBATES?
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?
Rarely 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
OTHER WORDS FROM pathetic
pa·thet·i·cal·ly, adverbpa·thet·i·cal·ness, nounhy·per·pa·thet·ic, adjectivehy·per·pa·thet·i·cal·ly, adverb
qua·si-pa·thet·ic, adjectivequa·si-pa·thet·i·cal·ly, adverbun·pa·thet·ic, adjectiveun·pa·thet·i·cal·ly, adverb
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH patheticbathetic, pathetic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use pathetic in a sentence
And yet I am not unmindful of several excellent pathetical Passages in both those immortal Poems.The Preface to the Aeneis of Virgil (1718)|Joseph Trapp
Elizabeth has been called a fool for listening to such pathetical ‘love letters’: and then hardhearted for not listening to them.Sir Walter Raleigh and his Time|Charles Kingsley
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.
There was something pathetical in his discontent with his secluded life which touched Wogan to the heart.Clementina|A.E.W. Mason
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
Derived forms of patheticpathetically, adverb
Word Origin for pathetic
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