[pit-ee-uh-buh l]


evoking or deserving pity; lamentable: pitiable, homeless children.
evoking or deserving contemptuous pity; miserable; contemptible: a pitiable lack of character.

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)

Synonyms for pitiable

1, 2. See pitiful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pitiable

Contemporary Examples of pitiable

  • The pitiable last photo of the naked megastar projected into the courtroom as Rogers testified is unforgettable.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Fight Over Jackson's Health

    Diane Dimond

    October 12, 2011

  • Amy is, at most, a pitiable woman trapped in a marriage that she has no idea how to fix.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Power of 'Straw Dogs'

    Malcolm Jones

    September 19, 2011

  • All around us, pundits spend their time bemoaning the pitiable state of men.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Are Men So Badly Off?

    Leslie Bennetts

    September 16, 2011

  • Eerie orange cones captured in an aerial photograph will show each precise spot where a part of this pitiable child came to rest.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Case Against Casey

    Diane Dimond

    May 22, 2011

Historical Examples of pitiable

British Dictionary definitions for pitiable



exciting or deserving pity or contempt
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper