- evoking or deserving pity: a pitiful fate.
- evoking or deserving contempt by smallness, poor quality, etc.: pitiful attempts.
- Archaic. full of pity; compassionate.
Origin of pitiful
SynonymsSee more synonyms for pitiful on Thesaurus.com
1. lamentable, deplorable, woeful, pathetic. 2. deplorable, mean, low, base, vile, despicable.
1, 2. Pitiful, pitiable, piteous apply to that which excites pity (with compassion or with contempt). That which is pitiful is touching and excites pity or is mean and contemptible: a pitiful leper; a pitiful exhibition of cowardice. Pitiable may mean lamentable, or wretched and paltry: a pitiable hovel. Piteous refers only to that which exhibits suffering and misery, and is therefore heart-rending: piteous poverty.
1. delightful. 2. honorable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for pitifully
The reason you want to do this is not to burn off the pitifully small amount of calories you will consume from walking.How to Recover from Christmas
December 25, 2013
“Julie Burchill is, of course, not loveable, and has pitifully late middle-aged legs,” he writes.Speed Read: 13 Juiciest Bits From Morrissey’s ‘Autobiography’
October 17, 2013
I want to know why commercial sex lags so pitifully far behind ostentatious transportation.The GOP's Fiscally Responsible Strip-Club Bill
March 31, 2010
Her face was pitifully convulsed, and tears welled in her eyes.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
To deny that he had come to arrest the outlaw was so pitifully futile.Southern Lights and Shadows
By now the pitifully few weapons of the Earthmen were popping.
The Earthmen were pitifully few, only thirty of them, and wretchedly armed.
When he reached his house he asked: “Who is weeping here so pitifully?”The Chinese Fairy Book
- arousing or deserving pity
- arousing or deserving contempt
- archaic full of pity or compassion
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 pitifully
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper