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 astarving child.
  2. a cause or reason for pity, sorrow, or regret: What a pity you could not go!
  1. Informal. motivated by a sense of pity or sympathy for others or for oneself: to have pity sex with a virgin; to go on a pity date with a loser.
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.
  1. have/take pity, to show mercy or compassion.

Origin of pity

1175–1225; Middle English pite < Old French pite, earlier pitet < Latin pietāt- (stem of pietās) piety
Related formsout·pit·y, verb (used with object), out·pit·ied, out·pit·y·ing.un·pit·ied, adjective

Synonyms for pity

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of pities

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British Dictionary definitions for pities


noun plural 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
  3. something that causes regret or pity
  4. an unfortunate chancewhat a pity you can't come
  5. more's the pity it is highly regrettable (that)
verb pities, pitying or pitied
  1. (tr) to feel pity for
Derived Formspitying, adjectivepityingly, adverb

Word Origin for pity

C13: from Old French pité, from Latin pietās duty
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 pities



early 13c., from Old French pite, pitet "pity, mercy, compassion, care, tenderness; pitiful state, wretched condition" (11c., Modern French pitié), from Latin pietatem (nominative pietas) "piety, loyalty, duty" (see piety). Replaced Old English mildheortness, literally "mild-heartness," itself a loan-translation of Latin misericordia. English pity and piety were not fully distinguished until 17c. Transferred sense of "grounds or cause for pity" is from late 14c.



"to feel pity for," late 15c., from Old French pitier and from pity (n.). Related: Pitied; pitying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pities


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.