[ pit-ee-uhs ]
See synonyms for piteous on Thesaurus.com
  1. evoking or deserving pity; pathetic: piteous cries for help.

  2. Archaic. compassionate.

Origin of piteous

1250–1300; Middle English; replacing pitous<Old French <Medieval Latin pietōsus.See pity, -ous

synonym study For piteous

1. See pitiful.

Other words for piteous

Other words from piteous

  • pit·e·ous·ly, adverb
  • pit·e·ous·ness, noun
  • o·ver·pit·e·ous, adjective
  • o·ver·pit·e·ous·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·pit·e·ous·ness, noun
  • un·pit·e·ous, adjective
  • un·pit·e·ous·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with piteous

Words Nearby piteous

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use piteous in a sentence

  • It was piteous to see how in these intervals his delusions were always shaped by the bitterest experiences of his life.

    Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
  • Human and animal cries blended in one piteous appeal for mercy.

    A Lost Hero | Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward and Herbert D. Ward
  • And an answering cry sounded across the lagoon—thin, wailing, piteous.

    Three More John Silence Stories | Algernon Blackwood
  • The colored woman came running, and with her Grace, who looked at the wan features of the soldier with piteous eyes.

  • His childhood, except when he could be rocked and sung into sickly sleep, was one long piteous wail.

British Dictionary definitions for piteous


/ (ˈpɪtɪəs) /

  1. exciting or deserving pity

  2. archaic having or expressing pity

Derived forms of piteous

  • piteously, adverb
  • piteousness, 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