Word Origin & History
1598, "affecting the emotions, exciting the passions," from M.Fr. pathétique "moving, stirring, affecting" (16c.), from L.L. patheticus, from Gk. pathetikos "sensitive, capable of emotion," from pathetos "liable to suffer," verbal adj. of pathein "to suffer" (see
). Meaning "arousing pity, pitiful" is first recorded 1737. Colloquial sense of "so miserable as to be ridiculous" is attested from 1937. Pathetic fallacy (1856, first used by Ruskin) is the attribution of human qualities to inanimate objects.