English Edit

Alternative forms Edit

Etymology Edit

From Middle French pathétique, from Latin patheticus, from Ancient Greek παθητικός (pathētikós, subject to feeling, capable of feeling, impassioned), from παθητός (pathētós, one who has suffered, subject to suffering), from πάσχω (páskhō, to suffer).

Pronunciation Edit

  • IPA(key): /pəˈθɛtɪk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛtɪk

Adjective Edit

pathetic (comparative more pathetic, superlative most pathetic)

  1. Arousing pity, sympathy, or compassion; exciting pathos.
    The child’s pathetic pleas for forgiveness stirred the young man’s heart.
    • 1883, George Reynolds, “History of the Book of Mormon: Contents of the Records, II,”, in Contributor:
      We have now arrived at one of the most pathetic and glorious events in the history of Israel, one which sanctifies the Lamanite race with the powers of martyrdom, and, by the blood of the victims, washes its garments white from many a former sin.
    • 1886 October – 1887 January, H[enry] Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., published 1887, →OCLC:
      She held his hand in one of hers, but she too was dozing, and the two made a pretty, or rather a pathetic, picture.
    • 1887, Harriet W. Daly, Digging, Squatting, and Pioneering Life in the Northern Territory of South Australia, page 150:
      There was no hospital, or any accommodation for the sick men. Each mate nursed his fellow, and some strikingly pathetic touches of devotion were shown here and there amongst them.
  2. Arousing scorn 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.
  3. (obsolete) Expressing or showing anger; passionate.
    • 1894, A. M. Clarke, The Life of Saint Francis Borgia, page 95:
      On a certain Good Friday, in what year we are not told, an especially moving and pathetic sermon was preached in the Cathedral by Father John Texeda, upon the sufferings of our Lord.
  4. (anatomy) Trochlear.

Synonyms Edit

Derived terms Edit

Related terms Edit

Translations Edit

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Further reading Edit