Pitiful means pathetic. If you don't even study for your test, you're making a pretty pitiful effort to do well.

The word pitiful can be used in a range of contexts. Most commonly, you'll see it used as an expression of contempt and pity, the way the word pathetic might be used. You might also see it used in reference to something unfortunate or deserving of pity — like a homeless mother and her child, begging for money on the street. Something pitiful might also be something very small or inadequate. A pitiful attempt, is one that isn't good enough.

Definitions of pitiful
  1. adjective
    deserving or inciting pity
    “a pitiful fate”
    synonyms: hapless, miserable, misfortunate, pathetic, piteous, pitiable, poor, wretched
    not favored by fortune; marked or accompanied by or resulting in ill fortune
  2. adjective
    inspiring mixed contempt and pity
    pitiful exhibition of cowardice”
    synonyms: pathetic, pitiable
    contemptible, misbegotten
    deserving of contempt or scorn
  3. adjective
    bad; unfortunate
    synonyms: deplorable, distressing, lamentable, sad, sorry
    having undesirable or negative qualities
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.

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