Definition of pathetic in English:


Syllabification: pa·thet·ic
Pronunciation: /pəˈTHedik


1Arousing pity, especially through vulnerability or sadness: she looked so pathetic that I bent down to comfort her
More example sentences
  • She is good-hearted and took pity on my pathetic form whenever I was sent to the kitchens by my mistresses.
  • His Graham is a pathetic, vulnerable figure who inspires both pity and amusement.
  • The figure, in its nakedness, has an almost ghostly, insubstantial quality, a pathetic vulnerability.
pitiful, pitiable, piteous, moving, touching, poignant, plaintive, distressing, upsetting, heartbreaking, heart-rending, harrowing, wretched, forlorn
1.1 informal Miserably inadequate: his test scores in Chemistry were pathetic
More example sentences
  • Then we get this paltry, pathetic excuse for a bill, and we are all supposed to become excited about it.
  • Karl made some pathetic excuse about having to go to Croydon.
  • That article was the most pathetic excuse for him to showcase his infantile vocabulary.
feeble, woeful, sorry, poor, pitiful, lamentable, deplorable, contemptible, inadequate, paltry, insufficient, unsatisfactory
2 archaic Relating to the emotions.


late 16th century (in the sense 'affecting the emotions'): via late Latin from Greek pathētikos 'sensitive', based on pathos 'suffering'.



Pronunciation: /-(ə)lē/
More example sentences
  • It's not lost in the music, it stands out pathetically small and off-key.
  • Nowhere is this more pathetically obvious than in the party slogans.
  • I whimpered pathetically, then bit my lip and let the lorry go.

Definition of pathetic in: