Meaning of pathetic in English:


Pronunciation /pəˈθɛtɪk/

See synonyms for pathetic

Translate pathetic into Spanish


  • 1Arousing pity, especially through vulnerability or sadness.

    ‘she looked so pathetic that I bent down to comfort her’
    • ‘it was a pathetic sight’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘From the very beginning, toddlers are made to carry heavy burden of books and copies which really is a pathetic sight.’
    • ‘Most of them carried little bundles and they were a pathetic sight.’
    • ‘But your pathetic attempt to conceal your identity made me pity you.’
    • ‘It seemed somehow forlorn and pathetic as if it had been suddenly abandoned.’
    • ‘A big red bus rolled past, around a curve, and out of sight as I waved in pathetic desperation.’
    • ‘It upsets me that someone so engagingly pathetic can be so disruptive.’
    • ‘Anyone who is sick, or poor, or generally pathetic would lack credibility as a prophet.’
    • ‘She sniffed sullenly, as if trying to emphasize her disdain, but only sounded rather pathetic.’
    • ‘"Sorry… " I replied lamely, beginning to look even more pathetic.’
    • ‘I'm sure this all sounds a bit pathetic to someone in your position.’
    • ‘Writing a story about an ex-boyfriend from several months ago seemed a bit pathetic.’
    • ‘Standing, she looked down at the pathetic, toothless creature at her feet.’
    • ‘He watched as the shadowy silhouette of one of the pathetic creatures stumbled past.’
    • ‘I read the news in regards to your situation and find it pathetic.’
    • ‘You're a weak, pathetic fool, a voice said in my head.’
    • ‘Hey, call me pathetic, but I was absolutely desperate for friends.’
    • ‘His heart skipped a beat with joy and he then wondered if it made him pathetic.’
    pitiful, pitiable, piteous, to be pitied, moving, touching, poignant, plaintive, stirring
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  • 2Miserably inadequate; of very low standard.

    ‘he's a pathetic excuse for a man’
    • ‘his ball control was pathetic’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I gave it a go and this year I have had about 50 apricots on my pathetic excuse for a tree.’
    • ‘I would like to know what pathetic excuses these so-called fans have for staying at home.’
    • ‘As I come into town, I pass the local mechanic's place, a pathetic excuse for a garage.’
    • ‘He covers his smile with a hand and examines her pathetic excuse for a tent.’
    • ‘Louis had a defeated look on his face and Henry was dancing around him in a pathetic excuse for a victory dance.’
    • ‘Every now and then, we in the gaming community are presented with a pathetic excuse for a video game, a console port.’
    • ‘I hope this doesn't come out as a pathetic excuse of why I haven't updated in a while.’
    • ‘After they had finished their pathetic excuse for a meal, they continued on their way.’
    • ‘They hold the foreigners in contempt, calling them aliens and capering about in a pathetic attempt to feel superior.’
    • ‘Or if it does, it's a pretty pathetic excuse for a church.’
    • ‘However, Timothy found it to be pretty pathetic attempt at an insult.’
    • ‘Jasmine gave out this little laugh that she thought sounded pretty pathetic.’
    • ‘By which I mean I will use the most pathetic excuses to avoid doing anything.’
    • ‘I'm not even going to link to it as it was so pathetic.’
    • ‘The man was a pathetic loser who couldn't even write a decent story.’
    • ‘But for now, I'm the pathetic loser, and you know what?’
    • ‘In practice, a vast amount of spiritualist messages seem pathetic in their banality and sentimentality.’
    feeble, woeful, sorry, poor, pitiful, lamentable, deplorable, miserable, wretched, contemptible, despicable, inadequate, meagre, paltry, insufficient, negligible, insubstantial, unsatisfactory, worthless
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  • 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’.