Pitiable describes something that's pathetic or miserable. After learning about the pitiable conditions of schools in parts of rural India, you might decide to donate supplies to them.

Just looking at pitiable gives you clues to its meaning. Pity is a feeling of sorrow for someone or something else, so something that's pitiable is worthy of pity. There's often a little bit of scorn thrown in, like the pitiable amount of cereal your stingy grandmother pours in your bowl at breakfast. In this case, there's some blame cast on the grandmother because she chooses to give so little cereal.

Definitions of pitiable
  1. adjective
    deserving or inciting pity
    pitiable homeless children”
    synonyms: hapless, miserable, misfortunate, pathetic, piteous, pitiful, poor, wretched
    not favored by fortune; marked or accompanied by or resulting in ill fortune
  2. adjective
    inspiring mixed contempt and pity
    pitiable lack of character”
    synonyms: pathetic, pitiful
    contemptible, misbegotten
    deserving of contempt or scorn
Commonly confused words

pitiable / pitiful / piteous / pitiless

We don't often look at four words that can be easily confused for each other, but this pack is an exception.

Continue reading...

Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week