pathetic Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “pathetic” in the English Dictionary

"pathetic" in British English

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patheticadjective

uk   /pəˈθet.ɪk/ us   /pəˈθet̬.ɪk/
  • 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
pathetically
adverb uk   /pəˈθet.ɪ.kəl.i/ us   /pəˈθet̬.ɪ.kəl.i/
Other former captives spoke of pathetically inadequate food rations. My parents' advice on sex was pathetically inadequate.
(Definition of pathetic from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"pathetic" in American English

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patheticadjective

us   /pəˈθet̬·ɪk/
  • pathetic adjective (SAD)

causing feelings of sadness or sympathy: I think it’s pathetic that only half of the eligible voters tend to vote.
  • pathetic adjective (UNSUCCESSFUL)

unsuccessful, useless, or worthless: a pathetic excuse Bernie’s hitting was pretty pathetic!
pathetically
adverb us   /pəˈθet̬·ɪ·kli/
a pathetically small dog
(Definition of pathetic from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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