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pitiful

[pit-i-fuh l] /ˈpɪt ɪ fəl/
adjective
1.
evoking or deserving pity:
a pitiful fate.
2.
evoking or deserving contempt by smallness, poor quality, etc.:
pitiful attempts.
3.
Archaic. full of pity; compassionate.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English; see pity, -ful
Related forms
pitifully, adverb
pitifulness, noun
self-pitiful, adjective
self-pitifully, adverb
self-pitifulness, noun
unpitiful, adjective
unpitifully, adverb
unpitifulness, noun
Can be confused
piteous, pitiable, pitiful, pitiless (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
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.
Antonyms
1. delightful. 2. honorable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for un pitiful

pitiful

/ˈpɪtɪfʊl/
adjective
1.
arousing or deserving pity
2.
arousing or deserving contempt
3.
(archaic) full of pity or compassion
Derived Forms
pitifully, adverb
pitifulness, 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 un pitiful

pitiful

adj.

c.1300, "merciful, compassionate" (implied in pitifully), from pity + -ful. Sense of "exciting or deserving pity" is from mid-15c.; that of "mean, wretched, contemptible" is 1580s. Related: Pitifulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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