AskDefine | Define pitiful

Dictionary Definition

pitiful adj
1 inspiring mixed contempt and pity; "their efforts were pathetic"; "pitiable lack of character"; "pitiful exhibition of cowardice" [syn: pathetic, pitiable]
2 bad; unfortunate; "my finances were in a deplorable state"; "a lamentable decision"; "her clothes were in sad shape"; "a sorry state of affairs" [syn: deplorable, distressing, lamentable, sad, sorry]
3 deserving or inciting pity; "a hapless victim"; "miserable victims of war"; "the shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic"- Galsworthy; "piteous appeals for help"; "pitiable homeless children"; "a pitiful fate"; "Oh, you poor thing"; "his poor distorted limbs"; "a wretched life" [syn: hapless, miserable, misfortunate, pathetic, piteous, pitiable, poor, wretched]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈpɪtəfl̩/
  • SAMPA /"pIt@f=l/


  1. So appalling or sad that one feels or should feel sorry for it; eliciting pity.
    Scotland has a pitiful climate.
  2. Very small (of an amount).
    A pitiful number of students bothered to turn up.

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Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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