pathetic Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “pathetic” in the English Dictionary

"pathetic" in British English

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patheticadjective

uk   /pəˈθet.ɪk/  us   /-ˈθet̬-/
  • pathetic adjective (SAD)

C2 causingfeelings 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 ​formerself.
See also
  • pathetic adjective (UNSUCCESSFUL)

C2 disapproving unsuccessful or ​showing no ​ability, ​effort, or ​bravery, so that ​peoplefeel no ​respect : a pathetic ​attempt/​joke/​excuse Are you ​telling me you're ​frightened to ​speak to her? Don't be so pathetic!
pathetically
adverb uk   us   /-ɪ.kəl.i/
Other ​formercaptivesspoke of pathetically ​inadequatefoodrations. 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 ​eligiblevoterstend 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 ​smalldog
(Definition of pathetic from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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