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Definition of pitiful:

  1. Full of pity; compassionate; miserable.

Google Ngram Viewer results for pitiful:

This graph shows how "pitiful" have occurred between 1800 and 2008 in a corpus of English books.

Examples of usage for pitiful:

  1. Pitiful originally signified full of pity; as, " the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy," James v, 11; but this usage is now archaic, and the meaning in question is appropriated by such words as merciful and compassionate. Pitiful and pitiable now refer to what may be deserving of pity, pitiful being used chiefly for that which is merely an object of thought, pitiable for that which is brought directly before the senses; as, a pitiful story; a pitiable object; a pitiable condition. Since pity, however, always implies weakness or inferiority in that which is pitied, pitiful and pitiable are often used, by an easy transition, for what might awaken pity, but does awaken contempt; as, a pitiful excuse; he presented a pitiable appearance. Piteous is now rarely used in its earlier sense of feeling pity, but in its derived sense applies to what really excites the emotion; as, a piteous cry. Compare HUMANE; MERCY; PITY.
  2. You know you can't, Rege, you have to take them on trust; and if you had seen what I have, you would know that poor human reason is a pitiful thing!
  3. I could have stayed there for hours, perfectly happy, floating on the sparkling stuff, and I did stay there for nearly one, with the result that I climbed up the cliff a chilled and saddened woman, and sat contemplating the blue tips of my fingers while the waiter brought breakfast, and thought what a pitiful thing it was to have blue finger tips, instead of rejoicing as I would have done after a ten minutes' swim in the glorious fact that I was alive at all on such a morning.

Quotes for pitiful:

  1. I think that they participated in something that was not very proper and was very pitiful, not only for the Algerian people, but also for the other people who counted on our support. - Ahmed Ben Bella
  2. But I think I have done right to save the vision in this way, even though I may die sooner because I did it; for I know the meaning of the vision is wise and beautiful and good; and you can see that I am only a pitiful old man after all. - Black Elk
  3. The most pitiful among men is he who turns his dreams into silver and gold. - Khalil Gibran
  4. Pessimists are usually kind. The gay, bubbling over, have to time for the pitiful. - Sean O'Faolain
  5. The man who has allowed his body to deteriorate cuts a pitiful figure- chest collapsed, stomach protruding. - Gene Tunney
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