Definition of pitiful in English:

pitiful

adjective

  • 1Deserving or arousing pity:

    ‘two children in a very pitiful state’
    • ‘It implied, moreover, that the strikers were pitiful wretches whose problems should be addressed through social uplift or charity.’
    • ‘She comes across as a pitiful figure, a very sad and very tragic figure.’
    • ‘He knew what he was doing was pitiful, pathetic, desperate.’
    • ‘It's pitiful, yet she doesn't want to be pitied, so what do I do?’
    • ‘He looked really pitiful that I felt sorry for him and I agreed.’
    • ‘Annabelle felt sorry for the pitiful sight a death had caused a girl who used to be attractive and envied.’
    • ‘He asked, ‘Why do you sacrifice yourself for these pitiful, pathetic creatures?’’
    • ‘It makes us look pitiful and pity is not something that we want, we want respect.’
    • ‘These are not satanic monsters, but tragic, pitiful figures.’
    • ‘I couldn't face the DVD extras, I could only lament the loss of an hour-and-a-half of my already pitiful life.’
    • ‘He presented such a pathetically pitiful creature, I wanted to kill him.’
    • ‘If you'd prefer to die with the wretched mortals of this pitiful world, then you are not fit to walk with darkness.’
    • ‘The answer was so pathetic and pitiful that there was no way I could reveal it.’
    • ‘They seemed to stretch out their bony, senile fingers to grab her whilst the pitiful willow wept in sorrow at her distress.’
    • ‘I was trying to look as pitiful and pathetic as I could.’
    • ‘It was pitiful… I almost felt sorry for him, until I heard Girl call him ‘Mister President,’ and then I felt ashamed.’
    • ‘These two wounded souls conduct a strange, exhilarating, pitiful love affair, with a tragic outcome.’
    • ‘Shane was truly a pitiful, pathetic human being, and Tal would not waste his time on him, not anymore.’
    • ‘I was summoned by pitiful cat wails to find a moving ‘lump’ rummaging around in a vain attempt at escape.’
    • ‘Goldberg's descent into pathetic lack of humanity has been a pitiful thing to watch.’
    distressing, sad, piteous, to be pitied, pitiable, pathetic, disturbing, heart-rending, heartbreaking, saddening, moving, affecting, touching, tear-jerking, plaintive, poignant, forlorn, poor, sorry, wretched, abject, miserable, tragic, woeful, lamentable, grievous
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    1. 1.1archaic Compassionate.
  • 2Very small or poor; inadequate:

    ‘a pitiful attempt to impress her’
    • ‘Minerva's pitiful attempts at music making leave her envious of those with perfect pitch.’
    • ‘Bonjean's attempt at damage control is so sorry and pitiful that it's almost like watching a car wreck.’
    • ‘Pathetic deaths and pitiful rhymes also characterized much of the poetry written about newsboys during this period.’
    • ‘I recall Birmingham City Councils pitiful attempt to rebrand the Christmas period winterval.’
    • ‘But Taylor's barrack-room bleating in defence of poor Rio has been nothing short of pitiful.’
    • ‘It has a few pitiful wretches for clubs, places which would, in Manchester, have been put out of their misery long ago.’
    • ‘In a pitiful attempt to recover from the picture-posting fiasco I shall share some interesting information with you.’
    • ‘Poor Karl, who wears a pitiful wig and returns Lizzie's kindness by trying to protect her from daddy, endures endless humiliations.’
    • ‘I'm sorry, your pitiful arguments just do not hold up in the face of facts like this.’
    • ‘Emily makes a pitiful attempt to pull her down the steps every morning and some evenings.’
    • ‘Research is pitiful, as are the attempts to provide references and a detailed bibliography of sources.’
    • ‘The owner of the pitiful castle, a small, insignificant knight was very welcoming.’
    • ‘Who in this house would be able to heat their homes for a pitiful and measly 9 a week? she asked.’
    • ‘After all, what sensible man would want to get into a relationship that led to marriage with such a poor, pitiful piece of filth?’
    • ‘The journey only made him seem pitiful and insignificant in the general scheme of things.’
    • ‘Along the way, you've got lots of pitiful attempts at push-back spin from administration officials who won't give their name.’
    • ‘In a pitiful and pathetic attempt to get his party re-elected, he has disgraced your wonderful country.’
    • ‘His pitiful attempt at explaining failed miserably, although he was too ignorant to notice it.’
    • ‘Instead of graceful movement through the water, when it tries to swim the impression it gives is of a pitiful thrashing about.’
    • ‘I shook my head despairingly, thinking about my own pitiful form of transport and felt deep pity for my feet slaves.’
    paltry, miserable, meagre, beggarly, insufficient, insignificant, trifling, negligible, pitiable, derisory
    dreadful, awful, terrible, lamentable, hopeless, wretched, sorry, poor, bad, feeble, well below par, pitiable, woeful, inadequate, contemptible, deplorable, despicable, laughable, worthless
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Pronunciation:

pitiful

/ˈpɪtɪfʊl/