What does piteous mean?

Definitions for piteous
ˈpɪt i əspiteous

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word piteous.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. hapless, miserable, misfortunate, pathetic, piteous, pitiable, pitiful, poor, wretchedadjective

    deserving or inciting pity

    "a hapless victim"; "miserable victims of war"; "the shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic"- Galsworthy; "piteous appeals for help"; "pitiable homeless children"; "a pitiful fate"; "Oh, you poor thing"; "his poor distorted limbs"; "a wretched life"


  1. piteousadjective


  2. Etymology: pitous, from piteus, pitus,

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Piteousadjective

    Etymology: from pity.

    When they heard that piteous strained voice,
    In haste forsook their rural merriment. Fairy Queen.

    The most arch deed of piteous massacre,
    That ever yet this land was guilty of. William Shakespeare, Rich. III.

    Which when Deucalion with a piteous look
    Beheld, he wept. Dryden.

    If the series of thy joys
    Permit one thought less cheerful to arise,
    Piteous transfer it to the mournful swain. Matthew Prior.

    She gave him, piteous of his case,
    A shaggy tap’stry. Alexander Pope, Dunciad.

    Piteous amends! unless
    Be meant our grand foe. John Milton, Par. Lost.


  1. piteous

    Pity is a sympathetic sorrow evoked by the suffering of others, and is used in a comparable sense to compassion, condolence or empathy – the word deriving from the Latin pietas (etymon also of piety). Self-pity is pity directed towards oneself. Two different kinds of pity can be distinguished, "benevolent pity" and "contemptuous pity" (see Kimball), where, through insincere, pejorative usage, pity is used to connote feelings of superiority, condescension, or contempt.


  1. piteous

    Piteous refers to something that arouses pity, sympathy, or compassion due to its condition of suffering, misfortune, need or distress.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Piteousadjective

    pious; devout

  2. Piteousadjective

    evincing pity, compassion, or sympathy; compassionate; tender

  3. Piteousadjective

    fitted to excite pity or sympathy; wretched; miserable; lamentable; sad; as, a piteous case

  4. Piteousadjective

    paltry; mean; pitiful

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Piteous

    pit′e-us, adj. showing or feeling pity: fitted to excite pity: mournful: compassionate: paltry.—adv. Pit′eously.—n. Pit′eousness. [O. Fr. pitos, piteus. Cf. Pity.]

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of piteous in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of piteous in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of piteous in a Sentence

  1. Homer:

    It is entirely seemly for a young man killed in battle to lie mangled by the bronze spear. In his death all things appear fair. But when dogs shame the gray head and gray chin and nakedness of an old man killed, it is the most piteous thing that happens among wretched mortals.

  2. Helen Hunt Jackson:

    Wounded vanity knows when it is mortally hurt and limps off the field, piteous, all disguises thrown away. But pride carries its banner to the last and fast as it is driven from one field unfurls it in another, never admitting that there is a shade less honor in the second field than in the first, or in the third than in the second.

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Translations for piteous

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"piteous." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/piteous>.

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    quickly aroused to anger
    A repugnant
    B irascible
    C inexpiable
    D currish

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