• WordNet 3.6
    • adj pathetic inspiring scornful pity "how silly an ardent and unsuccessful wooer can be especially if he is getting on in years"- Dashiell Hammett"
    • adj pathetic inspiring mixed contempt and pity "their efforts were pathetic","pitiable lack of character","pitiful exhibition of cowardice"
    • adj pathetic deserving or inciting pity "a hapless victim","miserable victims of war","the shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic"- Galsworthy","piteous appeals for help","pitiable homeless children","a pitiful fate","Oh, you poor thing","his poor distorted limbs","a wretched life"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Pathetic Affecting or moving the tender emotions, esp. pity or grief; full of pathos; as, a pathetic song or story. "Pathetic action.""No theory of the passions can teach a man to be pathetic ."
    • Pathetic Expressing or showing anger; passionate.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • pathetic Expressing or showing passion; passionate.
    • pathetic Full of pathos; affecting or moving the feelings; exciting pity, sorrow, grief, or other tender emotion; affecting: as, a pathetic song or discourse; pathetic expostulation.
    • pathetic In anatomy, trochlear: in designation of or reference to the fourth crania1 nerve.
    • n pathetic A trochlear or pathetic nerve; a patheticus.
    • pathetic Trochlear: in reference to the superior oblique muscle.
    • n pathetic Same as patheticus, 2.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Pathetic pa-thet′ik showing passion: affecting the tender emotions: causing pity, grief, or sorrow: touching:
    • adj Pathetic pa-thet′ik (anat.) trochlear
    • ***


  • Edward Gibbon
    “The pathetic almost always consists in the detail of little events.”
  • Yves Saint-Laurent
    Yves Saint-Laurent
    “It pains me physically to see a woman victimized, rendered pathetic, by fashion.”
  • Pablo Picasso
    “To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic.”
  • John D. Rockefeller
    “I know of nothing more despicable and pathetic than a man who devotes all the hours of the waking day to the making of money for money's sake.”
  • H. L. Mencken
    “Nothing is so abject and pathetic as a politician who has lost his job, save only a retired stud-horse.”
  • George Santayana
    “Many possessions, if they do not make a man better, are at least expected to make his children happier; and this pathetic hope is behind many exertions.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. patheticus, Gr. paqhtiko`s, fr. paqei^n pa`schein, to suffer: cf. F. pathétique,. See Pathos
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. pathētikos, subject to suffering.


In literature:

The devotion of these simple black men and women to their master was not only genuine, it was pathetic.
"The Victim" by Thomas Dixon
Emily's taste for drawing is a pathetic element in her always pathetic life.
"Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle" by Clement K. Shorter
We have the author in every mood, playful and pathetic, witty and wise.
"The Arena" by Various
He was a pathetic old relic, and his ways and his talk were also pathetic.
"Chapters from My Autobiography" by Mark Twain
He is quite pathetic, too, about the British Constitution.
"Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.)" by Leslie Stephen
She was used to that and accepted it with a pathetic attempt to color it differently.
"Other Main-Travelled Roads" by Hamlin Garland
She looked very pretty and very young, and not a little pathetic into the bargain.
"The Independence of Claire" by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
Yet it was that sweet, pathetic figure in the background that made his success possible.
"Pushing to the Front" by Orison Swett Marden
Her love, indeed, was pathetic in its young ignorance.
"The Making of a Soul" by Kathlyn Rhodes
Would it be possible to find in all history another life at once so grand and so pathetic?
"The Holy Cross and Other Tales" by Eugene Field
Her voice was full of pathetic resignation.
"The Trail of '98" by Robert W. Service
You see I was sorry for this woman, her story was so pathetic.
"Possessed" by Cleveland Moffett
Pathetically counting on my spending the summer with her, she must now be told that I was about to sail for the Old World!
"A Daughter of the Middle Border" by Hamlin Garland
Because it has no Dickens "pathos," certain parts of it are truly pathetic.
"Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens" by G. K. Chesterton
Everywhere in these solitudes I am greeted with the pensive, almost pathetic note of the Wood-Pewee.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 104, June, 1866" by Various
It was pathetic and funny.
"Chance" by Joseph Conrad
Pathetic as its passing is, one cannot honestly regret the old school.
"Nights in London" by Thomas Burke
There was even a haughtiness which was pathetic, knowing as the village did the story of his life.
"The Bishop of Cottontown" by John Trotwood Moore
Within a few minutes she had laid Jinnie on her bed, and was telling Lafe the pathetic story.
"Rose O'Paradise" by Grace Miller White
Something pathetic in his attitude touched her.
"The Belovéd Vagabond" by William J. Locke

In poetry:

And deign, O Watcher, with the sleepless brow,
Pathetic in its yearning—deign reply:
Is there, O is there aught that such as Thou
Wouldst take from such as I?
"Honours -- Part II." by Jean Ingelow
God gave her gifts of beauty and of grace,
With fast and vigil she denied them all;
Unquestioning, with sad, pathetic face,
She followed meekly at her stern guide's call.
"The Two Elizabeths" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Then, far away and clear,
Through the dusky atmosphere,
Let the wailing of the kildee be the only sound we hear:
O sad and sweet and low
As the memory may know
Is the glad-pathetic song of Long Ago!
"A Song Of Long Ago" by James Whitcomb Riley
Draw nearer. Lo! a voice we hear,
Resonant, soft, pathetic, sweet;
In ringing accents, calm and clear,
He sways the thousands at his feet,
With more than mortal eloquence,
Or man's compassion, in his glance.
"Echoes From Galilee." by Alfred Castner King
Oh! it was a weird and pathetic sight
As they buried him in the Citadel of Corunna at the dead of night,
While his staff and the men shed many tears
For the noble hero who had commanded them for many years.
"The Battle of Corunna" by William Topaz McGonagall
There is something so beseeching in the attitude of sleep,
A pathetic resignation, most appealing to the heart. .
There must surely be some secret that the eyes in slumber keep,
Which the lips, on their awakening, could not, if they would, impart.
"Sleep" by Laurence Hope

In news:

Pathetic Eagles' defense has no excuse .
Illustration by Bob AulYou pathetic, frustrated, wannabe firefighter who couldn't make the cut, why do you feel it necessary to be such an asshole supervisor.
GOP stands for Generational Outlook Pathetic.
Pathetic Eagles' defense has no excuse.
' Pathetic -12' should be much better in '13.
Flour Bomb Attack Was " Pathetic ".
Panthers ' pathetic ' in loss.
Bills " Pathetic " against Patriots.
INTERVIEWS Oasis Call Feud with Blur " Pathetic ".
Panetta's Pathetic Plea for Inaction on Iran.
HP's Board of Directors Is Pathetic .
Hacked 'Climategate' emails 'truly pathetic ,' says climate scientist.
Boehner calls Obama's travel plans ' pathetic '.
State of Union speech may be ' pathetic '.
The Ohio Republicans tells "Fox News Sunday" that if that's what Obama is going to talk about, then "I think it's pathetic .".

In science:

In particular, the differences between their brain capabilities and those of the primitive individuals could be pathetic.
Brane Worlds, the Subanthropic Principle and the Undetectability Conjecture
In some sense this is a pathetic advance, but it has some philosophical interest: genus 2 surfaces have long been known to have special properties (eg the hyperelliptic involution) that are not shared by higher genus surfaces.
Generalized Property R and the Schoenflies Conjecture
But if the textbook theory really has these crazy implications, it is rather pathetic to just ignore and suppress them.
Intelligent Design in the Physics Classroom?
This is the premise behind physicists’ pathetic and evasive strategies for dealing with the Copenhagen theory and its implications.
Intelligent Design in the Physics Classroom?
The conjecture which is backed up by a pathetically incomplete calculation outside any mathematical control is interpreted on the AdS side as a kind of dual QCD (strong QCD coupling limit where one expects confinement).
The power of AQFT: the area law for entropy of localized quantum matter