from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Demanding or arousing pity: a piteous appeal for help. See Synonyms at pathetic.
  • adj. Archaic Pitying; compassionate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. pitiful; evincing pity, compassion, or sympathy.
  • adj. pious; devout
  • adj. compassionate; tender
  • adj. paltry; mean; pitiful

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pious; devout.
  • adj. Evincing pity, compassion, or sympathy; compassionate; tender.
  • adj. Fitted to excite pity or sympathy; wretched; miserable; lamentable; sad.
  • adj. Paltry; mean; pitiful.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Full of pity or compassion; compassionate; affected by pity.
  • Such as to excite pity or move to compassion; affecting; lamentable; sorrowful; mournful; sad: as, a piteous look; a piteous case.
  • Pitiful; paltry; poor: as, piteous amends. Milton.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. deserving or inciting pity


Middle English, from Old French piteus, from Late Latin pietōsus, merciful, from Latin pietās, compassion; see piety.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English pitous, from Old French piteus, pitus, (Wiktionary)



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