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Line breaks: path|et¦ic
Pronunciation: /pəˈθɛtɪk

Definition of pathetic in English:


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.
2 informal Miserably inadequate: he’s a pathetic excuse for a man
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, miserable, wretched, contemptible, despicable, inadequate, meagre, paltry, insufficient, negligible, insubstantial, unsatisfactory, worthless
3 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'.



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:

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