[ pit-ee ]
See synonyms for: pitypitiedpitying on Thesaurus.com

noun,plural pit·ies.
  1. sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy: to feel pity for a starving child.

  2. a cause or reason for pity, sorrow, or regret: What a pity you could not go!

  1. motivated by a sense of pity or sympathy for others or for oneself: It seems he got the pity vote because of his personality, but his singing just wasn’t that great.

verb (used with object),pit·ied, pit·y·ing.
  1. to feel pity or compassion for; be sorry for; commiserate with.

verb (used without object),pit·ied, pit·y·ing.
  1. to have compassion; feel pity.

Idioms about pity

  1. have / take pity, to show mercy or compassion.

Origin of pity

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English pite, from Old French pite, earlier pitet, from Latin pietāt- (stem of pietās “dutiful respect, sense of duty”); see origin at piety

synonym study For pity

1. See sympathy.

Other words for pity

Other words from pity

  • out·pit·y, verb (used with object), out·pit·ied, out·pit·y·ing.
  • un·pit·ied, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pity in a sentence

  • To his peers, he's an all-star eccentric who is pitied or clucked over protectively as often as he is envied.

  • What greater pleasure could an emotionally-needy speechwriter know than to be pitied by the most powerful person on earth?

  • Women pitied him, and gazed at him tenderly, wondering if a man could look like that for anything save the loss of a sweetheart.

    Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
  • To-day he is left entirely alone, pitied by some, shunned by a few, and almost forgotten by the large majority.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • She was compassionate and, as she was unable to respect all men, she pitied those who were unfortunate enough to be wicked.

    Honey-Bee | Anatole France
  • They sit in the shadow of death; but the greater their misfortune the more are they to be pitied and supported.

    A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 1 (of 10) | Franois-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)
  • Little Meta did not like to show them her own bedroom—she pitied them so much when she thought of the contrast.

    The Daisy Chain | Charlotte Yonge

British Dictionary definitions for pity


/ (ˈpɪtɪ) /

nounplural pities
  1. sympathy or sorrow felt for the sufferings of another

  2. have pity on or take pity on to have sympathy or show mercy for

  1. something that causes regret or pity

  2. an unfortunate chance: what a pity you can't come

  3. more's the pity it is highly regrettable (that)

verbpities, pitying or pitied
  1. (tr) to feel pity for

Origin of pity

C13: from Old French pité, from Latin pietās duty

Derived forms of pity

  • pitying, adjective
  • pityingly, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with pity


see for one's (pity's) sake; take pity on.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.