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[pit-i-lis, pit-ee-] /ˈpɪt ɪ lɪs, ˈpɪt i-/
feeling or showing no pity; merciless:
pitiless criticism of his last novel.
Origin of pitiless
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English piteles. See pity, -less
Related forms
pitilessly, adverb
pitilessness, noun
Can be confused
piteous, pitiable, pitiful, pitiless (see synonym study at pitiful)
unmerciful, implacable, relentless. See cruel.
merciful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pitiless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From one motive or another the Cravens had consistently been pitiless to their womenkind.

  • I knew there must be help; some hand outstretched in a pitiless world.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • It detached the enemy from his base as a sponge is torn from a rock, and left him ringed about with fire in that pitiless plain.

    Soldiers Three, Part II. Rudyard Kipling
  • In fine, our fathers bore the brunt of more raging and pitiless elements than we.

    Old News Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • "Jessie Ball is bent on impressing Ethan," thought the pitiless young observer.

    The Open Question Elizabeth Robins
British Dictionary definitions for pitiless


having or showing little or no pity or mercy
Derived Forms
pitilessly, adverb
pitilessness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pitiless

early 15c., from pity + -less. Related: Pitilessly; pitilessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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