evoking or deserving pity: a pitiful fate.
evoking or deserving contempt by smallness, poor quality, etc.: pitiful attempts.
Archaic. full of pity; compassionate.

1400–50; late Middle English; see pity, -ful

pitifully, adverb
pitifulness, noun
self-pitiful, adjective
self-pitifully, adverb
self-pitifulness, noun
unpitiful, adjective
unpitifully, adverb
unpitifulness, noun

piteous, pitiable, pitiful, pitiless (see synonym study at the current entry).

1. lamentable, deplorable, woeful, pathetic. 1, 2. Pitiful, pitiable, piteous apply to that which excites pity (with compassion or with contempt). That which is pitiful is touching and excites pity or is mean and contemptible: a pitiful leper; a pitiful exhibition of cowardice. Pitiable may mean lamentable, or wretched and paltry: a pitiable hovel. Piteous refers only to that which exhibits suffering and misery, and is therefore heart-rending: piteous poverty. 2. deplorable, mean, low, base, vile, despicable.

1. delightful. 2. honorable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pitiful (ˈpɪtɪfʊl)
1.  arousing or deserving pity
2.  arousing or deserving contempt
3.  archaic full of pity or compassion

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
But there are three portable exercising aids that render the usual excuses
Your pitiful attempt to be courteous was an abysmal failure.
Peace is holding in troubled north of the country, but the economy there
  remains in a pitiful state.
But the testing program the agency plans to use is only a pitiful skeleton of
  what it needs to be.
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