Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Inspiring or deserving pity.
  • adjective Arousing contemptuous pity, as through ineptitude or inadequacy. synonym: pathetic.
  • adjective Archaic Filled with pity or compassion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Full of pity; tender; compassionate; having a feeling of sorrow and sympathy for the distressed.
  • Exciting or fitted to excite pity or compassion; miserable; deplorable; sad: as, a pitiful condition; a pitiful look.
  • To be pitied for its littleness or meanness; paltry; insignificant; contemptible; despicable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Full of pity; tender-hearted; compassionate; kind; merciful; sympathetic.
  • adjective Piteous; lamentable; eliciting compassion.
  • adjective To be pitied for littleness or meanness; miserable; paltry; contemptible; despicable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Feeling pity; merciful.
  • adjective So appalling or sad that one feels or should feel sorry for it; eliciting pity.
  • adjective Very small (of an amount or number).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective bad; unfortunate
  • adjective deserving or inciting pity
  • adjective inspiring mixed contempt and pity

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From pity +‎ -ful.

Examples

  • Consider This: Not only is this name hard to spell and pronounce, but it also seems to conjure up the word pitiful.

    5-Star Baby Name Advisor

  • Consider This: Not only is this name hard to spell and pronounce, but it also seems to conjure up the word pitiful.

    5-Star Baby Name Advisor

  • Lipton looked across at Conroy, his expression pitiful.

    Sin City

  • Lipton looked across at Conroy, his expression pitiful.

    Sin City

  • Lipton looked across at Conroy, his expression pitiful.

    Sin City

  • They went around trying to get invited – how pitiful is that and even came with their own film crew.

    Tareq Salahi: We didn't 'party-crash' the White House

  • A thousand dogs, in pitiful chorus, wailed their ancient wrongs and claimed mercy from the unheeding stars.

    Jack London Play:The Scorn of Women

  • A thousand dogs, in pitiful chorus, wailed their ancient wrongs and claimed mercy from the unheeding stars.

    THE SCORN OF WOMEN

  • This model is in pitiful shape; it's warped with water damaged, faded from the sun, and set beneath a perpetual drip of water-runoff from the cliff above.

    April 28th, 2005

  • A thousand dogs, in pitiful chorus, wailed their ancient wrongs and claimed mercy from the unheeding stars.

    The Scorn of Women

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