Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “pathetic”

See all translations

pathetic

adjective uk   /pəˈθet.ɪk/ us    /-ˈθet̬-/

pathetic adjective (SAD)

C2 causing feelings of sadness, sympathy, or sometimes lack of respect, especially because a person or an animal is suffering: The refugees were a pathetic sight - starving, frightened and cold. After the accident he became a pathetic figure, a shadow of his former self.
See also

pathetic adjective (UNSUCCESSFUL)

C2 disapproving making someone feel no respect, often because unsuccessful or showing no ability, effort, or bravery: a pathetic attempt/joke/excuse Are you telling me you're frightened to speak to her? Don't be so pathetic!
pathetically
adverb uk   /-ɪ.kəl.i/ us  
Other former captives spoke of pathetically inadequate food rations. My parents' advice on sex was pathetically inadequate.
(Definition of pathetic from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of pathetic?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

More meanings of “pathetic”

Definitions of “pathetic” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

pot luck

anything that is available or is found by chance, rather than something chosen, planned, or prepared

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More