The definition of pathetic is someone or something that brings or is capable of bringing about feelings of pity or sorrow.adjective
- 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: LL patheticus < Gr pathētikos, akin to pathos, suffering, pathos
- pathetically adverb
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Arousing or capable of arousing sympathetic sadness and compassion: “The old, rather shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic” (John Galsworthy).
- Arousing or capable of arousing scornful pity.
Origin: French pathétique, from Late Latin pathēticus, from Greek pathētikos, sensitive, from pathētos, liable to suffer, from pathos, suffering; see kwent(h)- in Indo-European roots.
- pa·thetˈi·cal·ly adverb