[pit-i-lis, pit-ee-]


feeling or showing no pity; merciless: pitiless criticism of his last novel.

Origin of pitiless

First recorded in 1375–1425, pitiless is from the late Middle English word piteles. See pity, -less
Related formspit·i·less·ly, adverbpit·i·less·ness, noun

Synonyms for pitiless

Synonym study

See cruel.

Antonyms for pitiless

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pitiless

Contemporary Examples of pitiless

Historical Examples of pitiless

  • Her struggles met only the unbending, pitiless resistance of steel.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I knew there must be help; some hand outstretched in a pitiless world.

  • In fine, our fathers bore the brunt of more raging and pitiless elements than we.

    Old News

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • She wriggled her chin in his palm, trying to free herself from his pitiless staring.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • If there be a pitiless community in this world, it is a small New England village.

British Dictionary definitions for pitiless



having or showing little or no pity or mercy
Derived Formspitilessly, adverbpitilessness, noun
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 pitiless

early 15c., from pity + -less. Related: Pitilessly; pitilessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper