• synonyms


[pit-ee-uh-buh l]
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  1. evoking or deserving pity; lamentable: pitiable, homeless children.
  2. evoking or deserving contemptuous pity; miserable; contemptible: a pitiable lack of character.
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Origin of pitiable

1425–75; late Middle English < Old French piteable, equivalent to pite(er) to pity + -able -able
Related formspit·i·a·ble·ness, nounpit·i·a·bly, adverbun·pit·i·a·ble, adjectiveun·pit·i·a·bly, adverb
Can be confusedpiteous pitiable pitiful (see synonym study at pitiful)


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1, 2. See pitiful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pitiable


  1. exciting or deserving pity or contempt
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Derived Formspitiableness, nounpitiably, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for pitiable


mid-15c., "merciful, compassionate," from Old French piteable "compassionate, merciful, pious" (13c.; Modern French pitoyable), from piteer "to pity" (see pity). Meaning "deserving pity" is recorded from late 15c. Related: Pitiably.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper