Definition of pity in English:
noun (plural pities)
- He had no pity, no compassion, no understanding of what the victims of war suffered.
- Some said that to heal this rift in the Malay ground, some pity, or compassion, must be shown to Anwar.
- A good number of her early poems attempt to work on the reader's sense of pity and compassion.
- In the end, it's a pity because the situation could have been handled a lot better and without the angst and tears.
- It's such a pity, when perfectly reasonable tinned crab is available in the supermarkets!
- This enforced secrecy is a pity, because Lalonde might have some useful advice to offer his cousin.
verb (pities, pitying, pitied)[with object] Back to top
- They were pitied, but few shared empathy with their hopes and dreams.
- She is pitying my cynical singledom, and I am worrying about her future.
- Well, when you stop being frightened of someone and then you stop pitying them, there's not really a lot left.
Latin pius meant ‘pious’(Late Middle English) but had a wider range of meanings than the word does in modern English, to include a wide range of moral qualities from being dutiful to your parents to being loyal, affectionate, compassionate, and kind. The Latin noun was pietas, and this, via French, became both pity and piety (originally used in the same sense as ‘pity’), both Middle English. Pietas also developed a medieval Latin form pitantia, which meant ‘a charitable donation’ and the meagre daily dole of food given out to monks and also to paupers. From this comes Middle English pittance.
for pity's sake
more's the pity
take (or have) pity
- Show compassion: they took pity on him and gave him foodMore example sentences
- Perhaps you, too, may laugh at me, but you will relent and have pity on me.
- Finally she took pity on me, and explained that she was Romanian.
- I allowed him to stay at my home because I took pity on him.
- Example sentences
- His father said pityingly, in an offhand manner, ‘I suppose you wanted to say that earlier.’
- Tash looked pityingly at me and said, ‘Mel, in here we're the hipsters.’
- I smile pityingly at those Johnnies-come-lately who claim they alone have the key to man's salvation.
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