- The definition of pathetic is someone or something that brings or is capable of bringing about feelings of pity or sorrow.
- An example of pathetic is a dog with mange.
- An example of pathetic is a Broadway actor forgetting their lines while on stage.
- expressing, arousing, or intended to arouse pity, sorrow, sympathy, or compassion; pitiful
- pitifully unsuccessful, ineffective, etc.: a pathetic performance
- of the emotions
Origin of patheticLate Latin patheticus ; from Classical Greek pathētikos, akin to pathos, suffering, pathos
- Arousing or deserving of sympathetic sadness and compassion: “The old, rather shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic” (John Galsworthy).
- Arousing or deserving of scornful pity.
Origin of patheticFrench pathétique, from Late Latin pathēticus, from Greek pathētikos, sensitive, from pathētos, liable to suffer, from pathos, suffering; see kwent(h)- in Indo-European roots.
(comparative more pathetic, superlative most pathetic)
- Arousing pity, sympathy, or compassion.
- The old man’s pathetic pleas for forgiveness stirred the young man’s heart.
- Arousing scornful pity or contempt, often due to miserable inadequacy.
- You can't even run two miles? That’s pathetic.
- You're almost 26 years old and you still can't hold a real job? That's pathetic.
From Latin patheticus, from Ancient Greek παθητικός (pathetikos, “subject to feeling, capable of feeling, impassioned”), from παθητός (pathetos, “one who has suffered, subject to suffering”), from πάσχω (paskho, “to suffer”).